Pellegrini defends decision to field inexperienced side vs. Chelsea

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Manchester City were bounced from the FA Cup on Sunday after being thrashed by Chelsea 5-1 at Stamford Bridge.

While the scoreline may look worrisome for City supporters, manager Manuel Pellegrini did not field his top side for the match, choosing to rest his star players for Wednesday’s Champions League tilt in Kiev.

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Pellegrini gave five teenagers their full debuts in the FA Cup Fifth Round, as Tosin Adarabioyo, David Faupala, Bersant Celina, Aleix Garcia, and Manu Garcia all made their first starts for City.

Many people criticized Pellegrini for selecting such an inexperienced team in an important FA Cup match, but he believes his “sensible” decision was what’s best for the club.

One of the most important things we must do in England is to try to help English teams which are playing in the Champions League. We cannot take the risk, if I have just 13 players in this moment. If I have 20 players then maybe I can, but if I have just 13 players I cannot take the risk to not recover the players who have a long flight on Monday or have one more player more injured. I think we did the correct thing. The best decision for our club.

I think if one team respects all the cups it’s this team, that’s why we’re in the final of the Capital One. That’s why we won two previous games in this cup. Today we couldn’t because I think we had more important things at the current moment. Right now we try to reach the quarter-final of the Champions League, with 13 players, it’s a sensible decision.

Pellegrini has been open with his criticism of the scheduling in England, as Sunday’s loss to Chelsea was the first of City’s three matches this week.

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With a midweek trip to Ukraine in the Champions League and the League Cup final next Sunday, Pellegrini can silence all his critics if City pick up two wins in those matches.