Alex Ferguson hopeful Old Trafford pitch will improve after labelling it 'a worry'

Manchester United boss blamed the pitch on Wednesday night for a poor display

Sir Alex Ferguson is crossing his fingers that a change in the weather and an easing match schedule will lead to an improvement in the state of Manchester United's Old Trafford pitch.

Ever since Ferguson revealed the pitch had "collapsed" over Christmas, there have been huge concerns over the playing surface.

It was particularly bad during Wednesday's win over Southampton, when Ferguson admitted it was "a worry", and the United boss has confirmed the pitch will be replaced in the summer.

In the meantime, with decent gap between Southampton's visit and the arrival of Everton on February 10, and another nine-day gap after that until Reading arrive for an FA Cup fifth-round tie, Ferguson has been left to hope the usually dire Manchester weather takes a turn for the better.

"We have to hope for better weather and a bit more sun," said Ferguson.

"We've got artificial lights on it all the time which really helps but the more light we get the better it is for the pitch.

"We're changing the whole pitch in the summer but at the moment it's not good."

After enduring a period when they were forced to change the pitch virtually every season, United have gone nine years without ripping it up.

Groundsman Tony Sinclair has in the past been voted United's employee of the year, so successful has he been in sorting out the huge problems inherent in cultivating a suitable playing surface in a stadium that gets very little natural light due to its size.

Now, though, it has reached the point of no return, which considering the number of matches still to be played on it, including a Champions League clash with Real Madrid on March 5, may prove to be a handicap.

"It's definitely a bit worn out," said Ferguson. "The groundsmen work their socks off and Tony Sinclair is as concerned as anyone.

"We've declined to replace the turf because we believe Tony will get it right.

"But there's no question it's still recovering from those two games over Christmas.

"That killed us and it's never been the same since."

PA

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Latest in Sport
Sport
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map
Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

This was the year of 24-carat Golden Oldies
Paris Fashion Week

Paris Fashion Week

Thom Browne's scarecrows offer a rare beacon in commercial offerings
A year of the caliphate:

Isis, a year of the caliphate

Who can defeat the so-called 'Islamic State' – and how?
Marks and Spencer: Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?

Marks and Spencer

Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?
'We haven't invaded France': Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak

'We haven't invaded France'

Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak
Isis in Kobani: Why we ignore the worst of the massacres

Why do we ignore the worst of the massacres?

The West’s determination not to offend its Sunni allies helps Isis and puts us all at risk, says Patrick Cockburn
7/7 bombings 10 years on: Four emergency workers who saved lives recall the shocking day that 52 people were killed

Remembering 7/7 ten years on

Four emergency workers recall their memories of that day – and reveal how it's affected them ever since
Humans: Are the scientists developing robots in danger of replicating the hit Channel 4 drama?

They’re here to help

We want robots to do our drudge work, and to look enough like us for comfort. But are the scientists developing artificial intelligence in danger of replicating the TV drama Humans?
Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

'Heritage' is a loaded word in the Dixie, but the Charleston killings show how dangerous it is to cling to a deadly past, says Rupert Cornwell
What exactly does 'one' mean? Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue

What exactly does 'one' mean?

Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue