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Manchester City logo
FA Cup | Semi-Finals
Apr 20, 2024 at 5.15pm UK
Wembley Stadium
Chelsea logo

Man City
1 - 0
Chelsea

Silva (84')
Alvarez (58'), Petrovic (86')
FT(HT: 0-0)

Caicedo (45'), Foden (82'), De Bruyne (86'), Fernandez (86')

'I don't understand how we survived' - Pep Guardiola reacts after beating Chelsea in FA Cup

'I don't understand how we survived' - Guardiola reacts after beating Chelsea in FA Cup
© Reuters
Pep Guardiola launches a scathing attack on the football authorities for their "unacceptable" decision following Manchester City's 1-0 win over Chelsea in the FA Cup semi-finals on Saturday.

Pep Guardiola has launched a scathing attack on the football authorities following Manchester City's 1-0 victory over Chelsea in the FA Cup semi-finals at Wembley Stadium on Saturday.

Just three days after crashing out in the Champions League quarter-finals at the hands of Real Madrid after a gruelling 120 minutes plus penalties on Wednesday, a visibly tired Man City outfit battled past a wasteful Chelsea side to reach their second successive FA Cup final.

Mauricio Pochettino's men had the better chances in front of goal under the Wembley arch, with Blues forward Nicolas Jackson coming close on multiple occasions either side of half time.

However, Bernardo Silva made amends for his poor penalty kick in midweek by netting a deflected strike at the far post from Kevin De Bruyne's low cross six minutes from time, sending City to the final to face either Coventry City or Manchester United, who lock horns in the second semi-final on Sunday.

Guardiola has commended his players for securing their spot in the showpiece event, but was quick to vent his frustration at the scheduling of their semi-final tie during his post-match interview, claiming that his Citizens side should have faced Chelsea on Sunday at the earliest amid their hectic fixture timetable.

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola reacts on April 20, 2024© Reuters

Pep Guardiola slams FA Cup scheduling after beating Chelsea

Asked by BBC presented Gary Lineker if he felt unfairly treated regarding City's fixture schedule, Guardiola said: "It's unacceptable. Coventry City, [Manchester] United and Chelsea don't play in the week, but they let us play today.

"It's impossible, for the health of the players. It's not normal. It's unacceptable. 120 minutes, the emotions of Madrid, the way we lose, honestly. I know this country is special [with the FA Cup] but it's for the health of the players. I don't understand how we survived today. People cannot imagine the punch in our face, the way we were knocked out (of Champions League)".

Asked by Lineker whether he has raised his concerns with the Football Association, Guardiola added: "Do you think demanding will change something? The only power I have I say here. Why don't we play tomorrow? Chelsea, Manchester United, Coventry didn't play midweek.

"I remember two seasons ago we had [Borussia] Dortmund on Wednesday, we travel, then play Saturday against Liverpool [in an FA Cup semi-final]. We make a lot of changes, they were 3-0 up at half time. They destroyed us.

"I changed a lot and thought a lot with the staff. This player, this player. Most of them, they were not recovered - it's impossible.

"Not just the physically... mentally so, so tough to recover. These guys are legends for what they have done. Rodri, the way he played today, Kyle [Walker], who was injured for a few weeks and now running against Jackson, against [Mykhaylo] Mudryk at the end - I don't understand how they survived, honestly."

Manchester City's Bernardo Silva celebrates scoring their first goal on April 20, 2024© Reuters

Busy schedule on the horizon with revamped Champions League in 2024-25

Man City now have seven fixtures remaining, including six in the Premier League and the FA Cup final, over the next five weeks of the season, before they take a well-earned summer break and then return to pre-season ahead of arguably their busiest campaign yet in 2024-25.

The Citizens will be one of 36 teams competing in a newly-formed Champions League next season and will be tasked with playing eight games in the 'league phase' (instead of the previous six group-stage matches) before potentially entering the knockout rounds.

Guardiola and co will have to balance their European endeavours with the rigours of domestic football in the Premier League, League Cup and FA Cup - there are now no replays for the latter competition - while the expanded FIFA Club World Cup is planned to take place in the summer of 2025.

Because of the new Champions League format and next season's fixture scheduling, Guardiola has suggested that he may be forced to select the reserve team in the early rounds of the EFL Cup.

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola reacts on March 16, 2024© Reuters

"My team manager said that the first round of (next season's) Champions League is the same day for Carabao Cup first round," said the City boss.

After shrugging his shoulders in a perplexed manner, the Catalan continued: "So the Champions League is scheduled the same week as Carabao Cup. The EDS (Elite Development Squad) is going to play.

"Absolutely (it is unfair on the fans), and for the players. We want to play football. We love to play football, but it's too much."

Man City will now turn their attention back to the Premier League and begin preparations for a trip to Brighton & Hove Albion next Thursday, three days before facing Nottingham Forest at the City Ground.

The Citizens have been knocked off the Premier League summit this weekend after title rivals Arsenal secured a 2-0 victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday evening to move one point clear at the top, although both Guardiola's side and third-placed Liverpool now have a game in hand.

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