Manchester City boss Pellegrini feels FA Cup clash against Chelsea isn't a 'real game'
Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini has delivered a scathing indictment of the FA Cup, by claiming that the ‘blockbuster’ clash against Chelsea has been devalued and is not a ‘real game’. The Chilean, who is set to leave the club at the end of the season, also revealed that were he a City fan, he would not pay for a ticket to this game.
Speaking in his pre-match press conference ahead of the FA Cup 5th Round clash against Chelsea tonight, Pellegrini pulled no punches saying “This is not a real game. I wouldn’t pay for a ticket. That’s why we told the fans one week ago that we are going to play with a young team.”
“If the people want to continue going to the stadium then OK, or maybe Chelsea fans will still enjoy the game. But I’m not a fan and so, with the young players we have, I must see the game.”
City have been left ravaged by a spate of injuries in recent games, with 6 senior team players out injured. Coupled with the fixture congestion that surrounds the Sky Blues’ Premier League and Champions League campaigns, Pellegrini revealed earlier that he is set to play a ‘young’ team in the clash against Chelsea.
FA Cup harming itself with inflexible scheduling
Pellegrini is set to leave the Citizens at the end of the season, as he will be replaced by Pep Guardiola, and is desperate for a trophy at the end of the season. The Chilean played strong sides in previous rounds of the FA Cups, but his hand has ben forced as the fixtures pile up, which will result in an inexperienced lineup against Chelsea.
Pellegrini revealed his displeasure, saying “We have had a very difficult FA Cup this season against Premier League teams, both of them away and we won both games 3-0 and 4-0. If I don’t continue in the same way there’s something not correct. If I as a manager don’t give any importance to the cup I have a reason.”
“We always try to play a strong team in the cups, and it would be very nice to finish with a game at Wembley, but there are some moments when you have to prioritise because you don’t receive any help and you could damage your prospects. You must respect every competition. The FA Cup is a very important competition and if you can’t do well in it, you must be disappointed, but you also have to be intelligent and make the best decision for the team.”
The Chilean did reveal what he considered to be the solution to the problem, saying “Maybe [FA Cup ties] without a replay can be one solution. All the other countries in Europe have just one cup. We have two cups and we have supported those cups.”