A bit like Liverpool, ask yourselves what Chelsea’s priorities are for the rest of the season. Winning the Champions League? Qualifying for next season’s competition? Or lifting the FA Cup? I’d say it’s in that order with the FA Cup trailing a distant 3rd.
So what would you do given the Football Association’s intransigence with regard to the dates allocated and timing of the semi-finals? We know, and understand, why Liverpool refuse to play on the anniversary of Hillsborough but why couldn’t Chelsea’s game be played this Friday night? And why does it have to kick off at 6 o’clock on Sunday to suit television — isn’t too much done to ‘suit television’ these days?
I’ll tell you what I’d do. I’d pick a much weakened team to play Spurs and ask the FA, television and commercial sponsors what they think about that. Then Chelsea can concentrate on resting important players and choosing tactics for the more important business of confronting Barcelona just three days later. Sir Alex Ferguson did much the same three years ago and almost got away with it.
I have full sympathy for Chelsea and ask once more: what is the FA doing to safeguard the interests of football in this country and the benefit of its clubs?