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HomeFA CupGuardiola slams 'unacceptable' schedule as Man City reach FA Cup final

Guardiola slams ‘unacceptable’ schedule as Man City reach FA Cup final

Pep Guardiola believes it was “unacceptable” that Man City played Chelsea in the FA Cup semi-final just three days after playing in the Uefa Champions League. 

The holders beat the Blues at Wembley to return to the final thanks to a late Bernardo Silva goal despite facing Real Madrid at the Etihad Stadium just three days prior.

Man City put in a sluggish performance on Saturday after being knocked out of Europe on Wednesday, losing in a penalty shootout following 30 minutes of extra-time.

 

“It’s unacceptable to let us play today,” Guardiola told BBC Sport. “It’s impossible, for the health of the players. It’s not normal. It’s unacceptable. 120 minutes, the emotions of Madrid, the way we lose, honestly.

“I know this country is special [with the FA Cup] but it’s for the health of the players. I don’t understand how we survived today.”

Asked whether he has raised it with authorities: “Do you think demanding will change something? The only power I have I say here. Why don’t we play tomorrow. Chelsea, Manchester United, Coventry didn’t play midweek.

“I thought a lot. I remember two seasons ago we had Dortmund on Wednesday – and Liverpool on Saturday [in the FA Cup semi-final]. They were 3-0 up at half-time. They destroyed us.

“Mentally so tough to recover. Rodri, the way he played today, Kyle (Walker), who was injured for a few weeks, I don’t understand how they survived.

“We want to play football. We love to play football but it’s too much. We defend our trophy. We’ll be here.”

Chelsea spurned chances in front of goal during one of the team’s best performances under Mauricio Pochettino, but Man City advanced to the decider as they seek to claim their eighth FA Cup trophy.

“They killed us on the transition. The game was so tight. [I thought] extra time, no please,” he admitted.

Guardiola faced a tough task in getting his players’ head screwed back on following the defeat to Real Madrid, but Man City managed to keep their Double dream alive.

“Don’t fight against your feelings,” Guardiola revealed when asked what he told his squad ahead of the game.

“If you’re sad, you’re sad. If you’re disappointed, you’re disappointed. I’m sad. I’m so down. We played an exceptional game. I said if you’re sad play with your sadness.”

Read – Man City put ‘frustrating’ week behind them to reach FA Cup final

Read More – Memorable cup clashes between Man City and Chelsea

See Also – Five of the best FA Cup semi-finals of modern times

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