Unhappy Pellegrini brands Chelsea clash ‘not a real game’

Date published: Sunday 21st February 2016 11:05

Manuel Pellegrini: Manager expected to ring the changes

Manuel Pellegrini has continued his criticism of the FA’s fixture scheduling by branding Manchester City’s clash with Chelsea as “not a real game”.

Despite the reward of a FA Cup quarter-final for the winner, Pellegrini is expect to make a host of changes to his City team for the trip to Stamford Bridge, in preparation for the club’s Champions League tie at Dynamo Kiev.

Youngsters Bersant Celina, Aleix Garcia, Angelino, Cameron Humphreys-Grant and Manu Garcia are all expected to be involved after being left out of City’s under-21 side on Saturday.

“I think it’s not a real game [against Chelsea], of course; not enough to pay the ticket,” Pellegrini said.

“I always give a lot of importance to the cups. They must think why [City are fielding reserves].

“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.

“The fans want to see a good game but we told them one week ago that we are going to play a young team. If the people want to continue going to the stadium, that’s for them.”

The next seven days will have a huge bearing on whether Pellegrini’s final season in charge of City will be a success.

As well as the FA Cup and Champions League ties, next Sunday will see the club face Liverpool in the League Cup final.

City have written to the FA to complain about the scheduling, and the Chilean reiterated his frustrations.

“I have enough problems trying to manage a team, without managing the FA,” he continued. “But the reality is that we must make some changes.

“Maybe [the tournament] without replays can be one solution. Someone said we must eliminate one cup, but I think the cups are good. All the stadiums are at full capacity, even if it is a League Two team.”

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