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Man City changes typical pre-match routine to get used to an artificial pitch

BERN (AP) – Manchester City has changed its usual preparations for an away game in the Champions League ahead of a meeting with Young Boys on the Swiss team’s artificial pitch at its Wankdorf Stadium.

City does not normally take up the option available to the team of training at the stadium where it is playing the game, instead preferring to work in Manchester before travelling.

However, City flew to Bern early on Tuesday and had a run-out inside Young Boys’ stadium on its unfamiliar terrain.

Speaking at a news conference later, City manager Pep Guardiola said he would prefer to be playing on natural grass but accepted the conditions. “If UEFA allows games to be played here, it’s because it is in good conditions,” Guardiola said.

“That’s one of the reasons we never train away but this is an exception. This is why we travel in the morning for the players to feel how the ball runs, how to move left, right, backwards, forwards. That’s why. We’ll try it and the players will know it immediately.”

Asked if he was concerned about injuries, Guardiola said: “I don’t know – hopefully not, for both sides, but I don’t know.

“We are not used to it. Any team that plays here is not used to it. It suits the Swiss league and, in the Champions League, the teams that come here have to adapt. We will not be the first in this situation. We have to use it as a benefit but the grass is better.”

Manchester City’s head coach Josep Guardiola talks to his team during a training session at the Wankdorf stadium in Bern, Switzerland. PHOTO: AP