Pep's Concern Over Players' Health After Hectic FA Cup Semi vs Chelsea Sparks Debate

Catherine Ivill - AMA/GettyImages

Manchester City booked a place in the FA Cup final after a narrow semi-final draw versus Chelsea. In a nail-biting contest, both sides fought tooth and nail before Bernando Silva punched a knockout blow with just six minutes left on the clock.

After crashing out of the Champions League following a heartbreaking penalty loss to Real Madrid, City's grit and resilience amazed fans. Silva, especially, having missed a routine penalty versus Madrid days ago, redeemed himself to keep Cityzen's FA Cup campaign alive.

However, Manchester City were made to toil hard for this awe-inspiring win. Having faced Madrid on Thursday, the boys in blue took the field again on Saturday against Chelsea in the FA Cup semi-final.

The players looked absolutely cooked but still managed to unleash their full potential for 90 minutes and accordingly booked a finals berth. 

However, manager Pep Guardiola was largely unimpressed with the FA Cup's schedule. While talking to Gary Lineker of BBC Sports, Pep lambasted the hectic schedule, alleging that authorities are playing with the health of his players. They simply don't care, and the kind of fatigue his players endured is unacceptable.

He questioned how hard it was for authorities to schedule City's game on Sunday since their counterparts, Chelsea, Manchester United, and Coventry, hadn't played at all in mid-week. Don't they care about his players' health at all? Or is it just some kind of biasedness against City specifically? Wondered Pep.

""It's unacceptable. It's really unacceptable. Coventry, United, Chelsea don't play in the week and they had us play today. Next week, on Friday, will be better,""

Pep said.

""It's impossible. For the health of the players. It's not normal, honestly, it's not normal. So because I win I have the courage to tell you and in defeat I would shut up but it's not possible. It's unacceptable to go 120 minutes, all of you are football players, the emotion to play Madrid, the semi-finals, the way we lose and everything, so honestly, I know in this country it's special for many reasons, but it's for the health of the players. I don't understand how we survived today.""

Bernardo Silva
Manchester City v Chelsea - Emirates FA Cup Semi Final / James Gill - Danehouse/GettyImages

Regardless, Pep Guardiola was moved to see his players fight back and manage to outclass a quality side like Chelsea in a tough game amid a roller coaster of emotions endured on Thursday.

Pep Guardiola was further pressed by the host to raise his issue officially. However, Pep snapped back, saying that when did the authorities start to care about these issues? He's been calling the problematic culture for years now. But nothing ever changes. All he asked for as a manager was one more day of rest for the sake of the players' physical and mental well-being. But all he could do was uplift the players' spirits back in the locker room to ensure a competitive performance on the field.

""Gary, do you think our demanding is going to change something? The only power I have I say here, it's not going to change anything. I've known it for many years but why do you play today and not tomorrow when Coventry, United and Chelsea don't play in midweek? Why? Why not have one more day for the health of the players?""



Manchester City will now face Manchester United in the final of the FA Cup at Wembley Stadium on May 25. 

While the treble hopes crashed following the penalty defeat vs. Real Madrid, City can still hope for the Premier League and FA Cup titles.