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FA must protect teams playing in Europe – Pellegrini

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini believes the Football Association should do more to ensure English clubs competing in European competitions have their domestic fixtures arranged favourably.

Last week, Pellegrini said he would “play with a young team” in the FA Cup fifth-round tie at Chelsea next weekend if it was moved to Sunday for television coverage, with City due to fly to Ukraine the following day for the first leg of the Champions League round-of-16 clash against Dynamo Kiev.

The Chelsea match was subsequently switched to a 4pm kick-off on the day in question for a BBC broadcast slot – a decision Pellegrini does not feel is “logical”.

“I thought the correct day was the Saturday as we have to play Kiev on the Wednesday,” he said.

“The FA must protect teams playing in Europe as everyone wants good results. I thought it was logical to play one day before.”

Ahead of this Sunday’s crunch Premier League clash with Tottenham, Pellegrini announced his League Cup finalists will be without England midfielder Fabian Delph for between six and seven weeks due to an Achilles injury.

Like title rivals Arsenal and Tottenham, City must manage their considerable injury list while competing in European and domestic knockout competitions.

Leicester City by contrast can focus solely on their remaining 13 league matches – although Pellegrini does not feel this hands any undue advantage to the league leaders, who left Etihad Stadium with an impressive 3-1 victory last time out.

“No, I think it’s not fair to talk about Leicester having an advantage,” the Chilean said.

“Every team knows before they start the season what competitions they must play.

“I think it’s not an advantage, they must continue playing in the way they have.”

Fri 12 Feb, 2016
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