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Guardiola slams unacceptable health risks as Man City reach FA Cup final

Published : Monday, 22 April, 2024 at 12:00 AM  Count : 275

Guardiola slams unacceptable health risks as Man City reach FA Cup final

Guardiola slams unacceptable health risks as Man City reach FA Cup final

LONDON, APRIL 21: Pep Guardiola slammed the "unacceptable" schedule that put fatigued Manchester Citys health at risk in their 1-0 win against Chelsea in an FA Cup semi-final scheduled just three days after their gruelling Champions League exit.

Guardiola was furious that the Football Association and television broadcasters set Citys semi-final for Saturday instead of giving them an extra day to recover after Wednesdays penalty shoot-out loss to Real Madrid in the Champions League quarter-finals.

Exhausted City were fortunate to survive a series of Chelsea misses at Wembley before Bernardo Silvas 84th minute winner atoned for his penalty blunder in the shoot-out against Real.

Guardiola took aim at the authorities for putting his players futures in danger when they could have played Manchester Uniteds semi-final against Coventry on Saturday instead of Sunday because neither club was in European action this week.

"Im incredibly happy to play the semi-finals of the FA Cup. I love to be in the quarter-final of the Champions League. But its unacceptable to let us play today," Guardiola said.

"It is impossible for the health of the players. People don understand the punch in the face after losing in the Champions League and playing here so soon.

"Why they don give us one more day? Chelsea, Manchester United and Coventry don play in the Champions League. It is for broadcasters? Ok don ask me to do extra things (for them)."

Guardiola insisted he would not speak to the sports governing bodies about his complaint because he is convinced they will not listen.

"Im right, right? Im not asking for some special privilege. It is a risk for their health, it is a risk for many things. I know they (the authorities) don care, but I care," he said.

"In this country it is not going to change anything. I know it. They don have the sensitivity to the players. Don ask me to have meetings with the Premier League and the FA. I don go. Im preparing the players."

Guardiolas rant was sparked by the obvious lethargy running through his side as they struggled to impose themselves against Chelsea.

Erling Haaland was sidelined by an injury sustained against Real, while Jack Grealish came off injured at Wembley and Rodri and Kyle Walker played through fitness issues.

City are back in action at Brighton in the Premier League on Thursday as they chase an unprecedented fourth successive title.
"After 120 minutes after Madrid, physically and emotionally, what they have done today is one of the most incredible things I have seen. We didn have time to prepare anything," Guardiola said.

"Mentally its so tough to recover. Rodri, the way he played today, Kyle Walker, who was injured for a few weeks. How we survived I don know.

"I just want to protect my players. I do this for my players. It is unsustainable.

"We want to play football. We love to play football but its too much."

While City eye the double, Chelsea boss Mauricio Pochettino had to come to terms with a second loss at Wembley in a troubled first season in charge.    —AFP

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