LONDON. — Manuel Pellegrini refused to apologise for his controversial decision to field a team of youngsters after Manchester City were dumped out of the FA Cup with a 5-1 thrashing at Chelsea on Sunday.
Pellegrini stood accused of disrespecting the famous old competition as he selected six teenagers, with five making their full debuts, and then watched them suffer City’s heaviest defeat since their Abu Dhabi-based owners bought the club in 2008.
With City due to play their Champions League last 16 first leg tie at Dynamo Kiev tomorrow and then face Liverpool in the League Cup final on Sunday, Pellegrini felt forced to turn to his raw rookies because the FA had refused to listen to his plea to stage the fifth round tie on Saturday instead of bowing to television demands to play it on Sunday.
But, asked about his decision to effectively gift wrap Chelsea’s quarter-final place, the City manager was unrepentant and insisted more should be done to help English clubs competing in the Champions League.
“I don’t think I need to defend myself. We played two rounds before against Premier League teams and won by playing the best players we had at that moment,” Pellegrini said. — AFP.