MANCHESTER UNITED are sending a groundsman to Shanghai in order to avoid a repeat of the pre-season farce that greeted them the last time they visited China.
United are set to face Tottenham there next week as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer steps up his build-up for the start of the new season.
2 Manchester United are sending a groundsman to China to ensure the pitch is in good enough condition for their match against TottenhamCredit: Getty – Contributor
And the club are doing everything they can to prevent the fiasco of three years ago when their match against Manchester City was called off because the playing surface was too bad.
The two Manchester sides were due to meet in a high profile friendly in the Bird's Nest Stadium in Beijing in 2016 – which would have been the first clash between then boss Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola.
But the game was scrapped when heavy rain in the city left the poorly prepared pitch unplayable, much to the fury of the two clubs.
It is a situation United are taking no chances with this time round, particularly as there are thunderstorms forecast next week by the time they and Spurs arrive in Shanghai.
They have instructed groundsman Dave Lindop to fly out to China this week to work with the groundstaff at the Hongkou Stadium in an effort to ensure the surface is in suitable condition.
It has emerged that the club have made four visits to the ground since November last year to keep an eye on things – and have also demanded weekly updates from the organisers of the match, which forms part of the International Champions Cup.
Solskjaer and his squad are currently in Singapore, having arrived there yesterday following a successful fortnight in Australia.
Much of the early fitness work was carried out Down Under, before two winning friendlies against Perth Glory and then Leeds.
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They are now preparing to face Inter Milan in Singapore this weekend, before moving on to Shanghai on Sunday.
The club are expected to use the time in Singapore to sit down with bosses from the Italian club to try and thrash out a deal for striker Romelu Lukaku.
Inter boss Antonio Conte is growing increasingly frustrated at the club's slow progress in coming up with the £75million United want for their Belgian star.
2 The pitch at the Bird's Nest Stadium in Beijing three years ago was so bad the friendly with Manchester City was scrapped