Barcelona coach condemns Monaco pitch

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MONACO - Barcelona's assistant coach Tito Vilanova condemmed the state of the Stade Louis II pitch where Friday's Super Cup match against Shakhtar Donetsk is due to be played.

The match, the traditional curtain-raiser to the European club competition season, sees European champions Barcelona play last season's UEFA Cup winners Shakhtar.

The pitch is covered with large brown patches of what appears to be dead grass and other blemishes and craters although it is usually in pristine condition for this fixture.

Vilanova told Barcelona's website: "This is something that should be condemned. It's the only complaint we have but it's also the most important thing and that's what's worse.

"But our main virtue is that we don't make excuses and we know we have to overcome all challenges. Whatever happens we won't use it (the pitch) as an excuse."

Barca coach Pep Guardiola was also told the pitch was in a very poor condition before he saw it on Thursday and he said: "They have had long enough to prepare for this event so I really cannot understand it.

"We need a pitch in good condition to put on an exhibition for the fans and it is unacceptable if it is anything less than perfect."

The Super Cup has been staged as a one-off event 11 times since it was switched to Monaco in 1998.