Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 1 October 2014

Delays may harm Manchester City's quadruple bid: Pellegrini

Boost: Manuel Pellegrini can call on Samir Nasri after injury

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini feels his side's unexpected midweek night off has helped them in the short-term – but fears they could pay later.

City's Barclays Premier League clash with Sunderland on Wednesday was postponed due to severe weather in the north west area.

That has allowed Pellegrini to keep players fresh ahead of today's FA Cup fifth-round tie with Chelsea and the much-anticipated Champions League visit of Barcelona next Tuesday.

But the called-off fixture will have to be rearranged for later in the season and that could be problematic as City continue to chase glory in four competitions.

City have already postponed their derby trip to Manchester United because of next month's Capital One Cup final and a home clash with Aston Villa will also be moved if they see off Chelsea this weekend.

Pellegrini said: "Both things are good and bad.

"It is better to have more rest because we have two important games on Saturday and Tuesday but also, as we postponed the game, we are going to have a lot of games during midweeks at the end of the season.

"So I think for some things maybe it is not good to postpone but, for other things, I think the team is fresh and that is very important.

"It is different if you have to play against Chelsea if you have played on Wednesday.

"If we had played against Sunderland it would be very important to see how the players finished the game.

"We come from two months where we play nine games each in December and January and I think maybe the team felt, a little bit, that amount of games in the end.

"In that sense it was quite useful for us to rest a little bit more after that busy period."

This weekend's cup clash sees City renew hostilities with Chelsea just over a week after the Londoners came out on top in their last meeting.

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho was seen as having outmanoeuvred Pellegrini as his side dominated midfield and regularly caught City on the counter-attack to win 1-0 in the Barclays Premier League.

Pellegrini's default 4-4-2 formation and attacking style appeared to expose the City defence but the Chilean has no intention of varying his trusted tactics as they meet again at the Etihad Stadium.

He said: "I don't think the way Chelsea played is the way Chelsea always play.

"I don't think it is the reason why we didn't win that game.

"They played very well, we didn't play very well at all.

"We missed three clear chances to score before and after they (scored) they defended very, very well.

"I don't think it is a reason to change the way we play or our style."

Much has been made of Pellegrini's rivalry with Mourinho after the pair exchanged verbal blows last week but the City boss is not interested in partaking in further exchanges with the Chelsea boss.

He said: "I don't think it is our duty as a manager to talk about other things, to talk about the referee, financial fair play, things like that.

"I don't think it is our duty so I think the team must talk on the pitch."

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