LONDON. — Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini said his side’s League Cup final triumph over Liverpool vindicated his decision to field a weakened team in their recent FA Cup defeat by Chelsea.
Pellegrini came in for criticism for selecting a youthful team almost completely devoid of recognisable names for City’s trip to Stamford Bridge in the FA Cup fifth round, which saw Chelsea win 5-1. But City’s stars returned in a Champions League victory at Dynamo Kiev last week before edging Liverpool 3-1 on penalties in Sunday’s League Cup final at Wembley after the match had finished 1-1 following extra time. “I think the decision I took last week was very important to win these two games, mid-week in the Champions League and tonight (Sunday) to win the trophy,” said Pellegrini, who previously led City to League Cup glory in 2014. It was a difficult decision for me not to continue in the FA Cup, because we won the first two games in that cup 3-0 (against Norwich City) and 4-0 (against Aston Villa), but with 13 or 14 players, it was very important to keep them fresh.”
Goalkeeper Willy Caballero, who deputises for Joe Hart in cup competitions, was City’s hero at Wembley, repelling spot-kicks from Lucas Leiva, Philippe Coutinho and Adam Lallana in the shootout. — AFP.