Manchester City Boss Manuel Pellegrini Insists The Fa Cup Format ‘must Change’
Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini insists “something must change” in the way the FA Cup is formatted to help teams playing in Europe.
The Chilean has reiterated he will be forced to field a team of youngsters in the FA Cup fifth round against Chelsea because the fixture was moved to Sunday – two days before they travel Ukraine to face Dynamo Kiev in the Champions League on Wednesday.
City officials held talks with the FA in an attempt to move the game to Saturday, to no avail, but the governing body have held internal discussions over potential changes that would see FA Cup replays and Capital One Cup second-legs scrapped.
Pellegrini said: “In other leagues, they try to help the teams in the Champions League a little bit more, because it is not so difficult to change one game on one day.
“I don’t want to talk lightly about this but the people in charge must study it. The other leagues do it so we must do it here too, if you want to be successful in Europe. Something must change.
“The FA Cup is difficult because it’s on a weekend, so you must postpone games and arrive at the end of the season with more to play. There are so many games at the end and it is difficult to play all of them. Some things are not correct in this cup.
“Unfortunately for us, because of injuries and we have to play in the Champions League, we just have 13 first-team players available to play, so we will see what the best team is that we can play in the FA Cup.”
City are without Eliaquim Mangala, Samir Nasri, Jesus Navas, Kevin De Bruyne and Wilfried Bony, who are all sidelined with injury.
U21s stars such as Cameron Humphreys and Manuel Garcia are expected to feature having played in previous rounds of both domestic cups for the first-team, while young English midfielder Brandon Barker could make his debut.
And Pellegrini said: “When young players have the chance they must take advantage of it.
“We normally play with some young players, one or two maximum, in the cup but I hope that the team we play against Chelsea will see our young players play in the way we know they can.
“This is an important week coming up. We can take one step to the Champions League quarter-finals and then we must prepare for the Capital One Cup final. We think game-by-game and not the competition, then afterwards we see how far we go.”