Manchester United’s defeat in Switzerland came as a surprise to most people in the industry. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side are favourites to win their group in the Champions League and Young Boys were suggested to be the ‘punching bag’ of the group.
Instead, United mustered a bland performance against David Wagner’s side. Cristiano Ronaldo gave his side the lead after just 13 minutes, slotting in from the back post after an exceptional outside-of-the-boot pass from Bruno Fernandes.
The goal came within the first quarter of the game and barring one half-chance afterwards, that’s where the fun would end for United. Aaron Wan-Bissaka was sent off after roughly 30 minutes and the home side immediately took control of proceedings.
Young Boys equalised in the second half and it looked like Solskjaer had survived with a draw on the night but a fatal backpass from Jesse Lingard gifted them the three points, resulting in a nightmare start for the Reds.
The game was played on an artificial pitch, notoriously known for being harder to play on at a high level. The tougher surface is harder on the joints, something Luke Shaw highlighted in his post-match interview, as seen below.
"Não podemos usar como desculpa, mas um gramado como esse (sintético) não deveria ser permitido na Liga dos Campeões. É perigoso, difícil de girar e não faz bem aos joelhos. Mas, repito, não é desculpa para a derrota."
Entrevista com Luke Shaw após o jogo de hoje: pic.twitter.com/7uymrlNz86
— Fred Caldeira (@fredcaldeira) September 14, 2021
The 26-year-old did not hold back in his assessment of the pitch and it’s fair to say that it’s an unfair advantage, especially in a Champions League group game.
“It’s always hard with 10 men, I think we started well. It’s a hard pitch to play on, it’s not easy to get used to. We were comfortable in the game, we didn’t feel they were too threatening,” he told TNT Sports, as seen above.
“A lot (difference between real grass and artificial grass). No excuses, we lost the game tonight, you can’t blame the pitch but for the Champions League, these pitches shouldn’t be possible – it’s dangerous. It’s hard to turn on but like I said, it’s no excuse. It’s football, we lost tonight, we have to take it on the chin and we need to focus on, of course, the games coming on the weekend.
“It’s artificial grass, it’s not proper grass. You can’t turn properly, it’s not good for the knees. We gave everything, we came up short but like I said, we need to focus on our next games.”