London (AFP) – Tranmere manager Micky Mellon has told struggling Manchester United they cannot use the poor pitch as an excuse if they come unstuck in their FA Cup fourth-round match at Prenton Park.
Third-tier Rovers booked a dream meeting against Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side on Sunday by overcoming Premier League side Watford in their rescheduled third-round replay.
A waterlogged pitch last week meant the Watford game had to be rearranged for Thursday, with Tranmere progressing courtesy of a 2-1 win after extra-time on a playing surface where there were a number of bald patches, with both wings heavily sanded.
Matters are hardly likely to improve because of the short turnaround between the fixtures, but Mellon argued the condition of the pitch would not help his Tranmere underdogs.
“People get confused and think they’ve got to play on a different pitch. We’ll play on the same pitch,” Mellon said.
“What if it’s windy? What if it’s hailstones? Good players can adapt and adjust to anything, that’s what you expect of them.
“They know what the outcome has got to be and that’s got to be trying to win a game of football and good players will find a way of doing that on any surface.”
United’s recent struggles under Solskjaer have been well-documented, but with Tranmere sitting third bottom in League One and three points adrift of safety, Mellon’s sympathy is in short supply.
“Football management is tough. Unless you’re a football manager you don’t understand how tough it is and all consuming it is — it’s a 24/7 job,” he said.
“For every football manager, I know how tough it is, regardless of where they are and what their situation is. We have different challenges and it’s tough for everybody.”
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