In the wake of a lackluster performance against Le Havre, Montpellier HSC’s head coach Michel Der Zakarian has raised concerns over the condition of the playing field at the Stade de la Mosson-Mondial 98, Soccernet.ng reports.
Playing their first Ligue 1 game at home on Sunday, Montpellier were poor in the first half allowing Le Havre to head to the halftime break with a goal advantage.
But Akor Adams, making his debut for Montpellier, came to the rescue netting the equaliser in the 58th minute and putting the home side ahead two minutes later.
Victor Osimhen was the only Nigerian to have netted a brace on his Ligue 1 debut before Adams repeated the feat against Le Havre.
Montpellier, however, could not protect their lead as the visitors scored late to finish with a share of the spoils.
Head coach Der Zakarian is convinced that the unfavourable condition of the pitch played a part in his team’s lacklustre display.
Speaking to France Bleu Hérault as per Allezpaillade, Der Zakarian did not mince words, expressing dissatisfaction with the state of the Stade de la Mosson’s turf.
Der Zakarian pointedly stated, “I don’t know if it’s the city hall or the prefecture, but playing on a pitch that isn’t watered is a disaster.
“When you play at 3 p.m. with the heat and no moisture on the pitch… It’s difficult to play on the ground with a ball that just bounces. It’s a rugby pitch, not a football pitch.”
The coach highlighted the adverse impact of dry and uneven conditions on the gameplay, lamenting the challenges posed by a surface that resembled more of a “potato field” than a professional football pitch.
Der Zakarian recounted the contrast between the training conditions earlier in the week and the situation on matchday, revealing that the training ground had been properly watered and suitable for play.
He explained, “On Thursday, for practice, the field had been watered; we had permission. It was fine. On Sunday, I asked if we could water it, and they said yes. When we arrived at the stadium, they told us no in the end, that the field wouldn’t be watered.”
The coach’s frustration was palpable as he emphasized the disparity between the expectations of the earlier approval to water the field and the eventual denial on matchday.
Der Zakarian concluded, “We played in a potato field.”
It is important to note that the responsibility for maintaining the condition of the playing field falls under the jurisdiction of the Metropolis.
Adams and Montpellier will aim for all three points when they go away to face rivals Lyon this weekend.