Mourinho calls for plastic pitch ban

MOSCOW - Inter Milan coach Jose Mourinho, whose team face CSKA Moscow in the Champions League quarter-finals on Tuesday, said Europe's premier club competition should not be played on artificial surfaces.

"Of 32 Champions League teams, 31 play on natural grass and only one on a plastic pitch," Mourinho told reporters on Monday ahead of the second leg on Luzhniki's artificial turf, with his team holding a slim 1-0 lead from the first leg in Milan.

The outspoken Portuguese, who earlier likened playing on artificial pitches to child's play, however, stopped short of calling on European football's governing body UEFA to abandon synthetic surfaces altogether.

"You make your own judgment, who's right or wrong in this case, but the fact is the game is much more beautiful when it is played on a natural grass," he said.

Asked to predict the final outcome, Mourinho said: "Inter will try to finish this game to be in the semi-final.

"CSKA will try everything to change this result, a 1-0 is not a big result, it's not like two or three nil," he added.

"Inter will defend a lot to protect the lead but it will also try to counter-attack to score an away goal."

The Italian champions should be at full strength on Tuesday, with Brazil centre back Lucio and his midfield compatriot Thiago Motta available after being suspended for the first leg.

Mourinho said in-form Dutch playmaker Wesley Sneijder should recover in time after hurting his left ankle following a collision with team mate Sulley Muntari in Monday's training.

"I think he'll be ready to play tomorrow," said Mourinho.

CSKA, who will miss key midfielders Milos Krasic and Yevgeny Aldonin through suspension, might also lose central defender Vasily Berezutsky with a thigh injury.

"I just pulled a muscle," said the Russian international, who had to leave the pitch earlier during the team's training on Monday. "But it's a minor injury so I'll do my best to play on Tuesday."

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