Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini has admitted that he has a “major problem” selecting his team for their FA Cup clash against Chelsea.
The Citizens travel to west London on Sunday before they fly to Ukraine to take on Dynamo Kiev in Wednesday’s Champions League last-16 clash.
Their third big match in seven days comes at Wembley next Sunday where they face Liverpool in the Capital One Cup final, while they also have ground to make up in the title race.
To make things worse, Pellegrini will be without Bacary Sagna, Eliaquim Mangala, Samir Nasri, Jesus Navas, Fabian Delph, Kevin de Bruyne and Wilfried Bony for the match against Chelsea.
The Argentine admitted that he's in a tough situation and claims he only has 13 fit players left for the FA Cup tie.
“It's a big problem,” Pellegrini said in his press conference. “Maybe it's not so big if we could play on the Saturday, but because we play on Sunday it's a major problem.
“We have just 13 players available to play, and we have to play in the Champions League on Wednesday, so we will see the best team we can play in the FA Cup.”
Fault of the FA
Two weeks ago, Pellegrini called for the FA to schedule the cup clash for Saturday to allow them to prepare properly for their Champions League tie on Wednesday. However, due to TV rights the match was moved to Sunday.
Other European leagues often schedule fixtures so that clubs involved in the Champions League can play on Friday or Saturday. Pellegrini urged the FA to follow suit to give English clubs a better chance in the elite European competition.
“I said a couple of weeks ago that if you want to protect English teams in the Champions League then play the game on Saturday, but we couldn't do that so we will have to see the best team we can pick,” he said.
“We always try to play with a strong team in every competition because I think every competition is important, especially the FA Cup.
“We had two tough draws against Premier League clubs [Norwich and Aston Villa], so we are very interested in continuing in the FA Cup.”
Pellegrini added: “I think in every league the players whose teams are in the Champions League, they try to help them a little bit more because it's not so difficult to change one game or one day, so if one league can do it then I don't see why we can't here.”
Pellegrini also alluded to the fact that he may have to field a weakened line-up against Chelsea as they compete on four fronts.
“For me always the priority is the next game, but maybe we are gong to make an exception on this occasion," he concluded.