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Man City v Chelsea: ‘So down’ Guardiola fumes at FA Cup timing after Champions League exit

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Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola said it was “unacceptable” for his players to contest an FA Cup semi-final less than 72 hours after going to extra time against Real Madrid in the Uefa Champions League.

Holders City beat Chelsea at Wembley Stadium with an 84th-minute goal by Bernardo Silva but Guardiola said he did not know how his squad had “survived” after their exertions in losing to Madrid on penalties at Etihad Stadium on Wednesday.

“It’s unacceptable to let us play today,” Guardiola told BBC Sport. “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 don’t understand how we survived today.”

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Guardiola argued that Manchester United and Coventry City, who play their semi-final on Sunday, had not played in midweek.

“Do you think demanding will change something?” he asked. “The only power I have, I say here.

“Mentally, it is so tough to recover. Rodri, the way he played today. Kyle [Walker], who was injured for a few weeks – I don’t understand how they survived.

“We want to play football. We love to play football but it’s too much. They killed us on the transition. The game was so tight. [I thought] extra time – no, please.”

Man City Champions League defeat ‘sad’

Defending their European title, City drew 1-1 with Madrid in normal time before Bernardo Silva and Mateo Kovacic missed spotkicks in the shootout.

Guardiola said he had told his players not to “fight against your feelings” while preparing for their FA Cup match.

“If you’re sad, you’re sad,” he added, having praised his players following their exit. “If you’re disappointed you’re disappointed.

“I’m sad. I’m so down. We played an exceptional game. I said ‘if you’re sad, play with your sadness.'”

Ben Miller
Ben Miller
Ben has more than 10 years' experience in sports journalism, covering two EURO tournaments, European club competitions, the Premier League, EFL and WSL and a variety of other major sporting events.

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