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Man City 1-0 Chelsea: Pep Guardiola hits out at schedule after FA Cup semi-final win

By BBC
Football News Pep Guardiola, Manager of Manchester City, gives the team instructions during the Emirates FA Cup Semi Final match between Manchester City and Chelsea at Wembley Stadium on April 20, 2024 in London, England.Image credit: Getty Images
SAT, 20 APR 2024 LISTEN
Pep Guardiola, Manager of Manchester City, gives the team instructions during the Emirates FA Cup Semi Final match between Manchester City and Chelsea at Wembley Stadium on April 20, 2024 in London, England. Image credit: Getty Images

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola says it is "unacceptable" that his side had to play an FA Cup semi-final so soon after a Champions League quarter-final.

City overcame Chelsea 1-0 to reach a second successive final but Guardiola criticised their schedule after the penalty shootout defeat by Real Madrid.

Guardiola said Coventry and Manchester United - who play on Sunday at Wembley - should have played on Saturday.

"I don't understand how we survived," added the City boss.

City lost on penalties to Real Madrid on Wednesday after the teams were locked 4-4 on aggregate after extra time.

Guardiola's argument is that the other FA Cup semi-final between Manchester United and Coventry, who are not in European competition, should have been switched to Saturday to allow his players an extra day to recover.

"It's unacceptable to let us play today," he told BBC Sport. "It's impossible, for the health of the players. It's not normal.

"One hundred and twenty 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."

Guardiola was animated after full-time on Saturday, hugging his players on the pitch and waving his arms in the air towards City's supporters.

Later, in his news conference, Guardiola continued with his criticism - describing the domestic and international calendar as "unsustainable".

"I just want to protect my players. It's common sense. I'm not asking for something special or privilege."

City's next match is on Thursday, when they play at Brighton in the Premier League (20:00 BST).

There are still set to be clashes between domestic competitions and Uefa matches when the 2024-25 fixture calendar is confirmed next month, despite FA Cup replays being scrapped.

The Premier League, Football Association and English Football League feel they have been left in an impossible situation, due to Uefa's decision to expand its three club competitions and the introduction of the new Fifa Club World Cup at the end of next season.

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