Jose Mourinho believes playing on an artificial pitch will be like child's play for his Internazionale team as they look to knock out CSKA Moscow in the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final tonight.
"We know how we want to play there, [we are] aware of the difficulties regarding the opposition and the artificial pitch, which will be a first for everyone," Mourinho said. "But I was joking with some of the players before, thinking of how we used to play in the road when we were children. 'If you can play in the road,' I said, 'why can't you play on an artificial pitch too?'"
The Serie A champions carry a 1-0 advantage from last week, when CSKA had their goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev to thank for keeping their hopes alive with a series of fine saves. However, the home side's chances of overturning the deficit to become the first Russian side to reach the Champions League semi-finals have not been helped by the absence of the midfielders Milos Krasic and Yevgeny Aldonin, who are suspended.
Krasic, though, was confident CSKA's familiarity with the synthetic surface could swing the tie their way. "I won't be able to help my team in Moscow but I think we still have a good chance," the Serbia international said. "I think the synthetic surface should give us a distinct edge. It could be our 12th man against Inter."
The visitors will be confident after dominating the first leg and warming up for the second with a 3-0 win over Bologna in Serie A on Saturday. They should be at full strength, too. Brazil centre-back Lucio and his midfield compatriot Thiago Motta, who scored twice against Bologna, are available after serving suspensions last week.
Playmaker Wesley Sneijder may start after resting for most of the Bologna match, having hurt his ankle in the first leg. Mourinho also has forward Mario Balotelli, who scored on Saturday after spending a month on the sidelines after a row with his manager.
CSKA Moscow (probable): Akinfeev; V Berezutsky, A Berezutsky, Ignashevich, Shchennikov; Semberas, Honda, Dzagoyev, Mamayev, Gonzalez; Necid.
Internazionale (probable): Julio Cesar; Maicon, Lucio, Samuel, Chivu; Zanetti, Cambiasso, Motta; Sneijder; Eto'o, Milito.Reuse content