Manuel Pellegrini claims the Premier League rejected Manchester City’s efforts to move Sunday’s trip to Southampton in a bid to aid preparations for their Champions League return clash against Real Madrid.
City and the La Liga giants played out a goalless draw at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday, leaving their semi-final delicately poised ahead of next week’s clash at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Pellegrini’s men face Southampton in a televised clash this weekend, continuing their bid to secure a top-four finish in the Premier League, and at a post-match news conference the Chilean bemoaned the extra recovery time Madrid will enjoy.
A trip to Real Sociedad is on the agenda this Saturday for Zinedine Zidane’s side.
“Before we go to Madrid we must continue here in the Premier League against a difficult team in Southampton with three very important points,” Pellegrini said.
“Unfortunately for us, we are going to have one day less resting than Real Madrid.
“Real Madrid will play on Saturday and we tried to change our game but it was impossible so we need to play on Sunday.”
It is not the first time this season Pellegrini has come into conflict with match scheduling for television coverage.
The Chilean virtually conceded City’s FA Cup fifth-round match at Chelsea, fielding a youthful side featuring five full-debutants in a 5-1 defeat after the tie was moved to be aired in a Sunday TV slot.
Pellegrini cited the need to give his star men recovery time for a Champions League trip to Dynamo Kiev, a stance vindicated insofar as City won 3-1, but the selection was widely criticised.