Back to full strength, Manchester City have shown that they can punish a strong opposition by defeating Dynamo Kiev 3-1 in the Wednesday’s Champions League Round of 16 first-leg tie in Ukraine.
Manuel Pellegrini was criticised heavily for fielding a second-string side in the FA Cup tie against Chelsea, a match they went on to lose 5-1. However, Manchester City silenced the doubters with a convincing away victory in Kiev on Wednesday.
“Having just 13 fit outfield players – it was a key decision to rest the team in the [FA Cup] game. It was important for the way we had to play this game with lots of intensity,” Pellegrini was quoted as saying by the BBC.
Pellegrini had gone for a midfield and attack consisting of City’s younger players against Chelsea. However, he brought back all the big guns in the Champions League encounter against Dynamo.
“In this profession you always get criticism when you don’t win, but for the manager it is important to take the right decision,” Pellegrini added.
Cannot be complacent in the return fixture
The Citizens have quite a big lead to protect in the second leg of the Champions League Round of 16 fixture against Dynamo Kiev. In fact, Dynamo would have to beat them by a two-goal margin (scoring at least three at the Etihad) or more in order to progress to the quarter finals stage of the competition.
However, Pellegrini believes that his side cannot be too complacent about the second leg. He says: “I think the worst thing we can do is to think that because we won 3-1 away the game at home is finished.”
Has the FA Cup lost its importance?
“I always try to respect all the competitions but unfortunately we couldn’t continue in the FA Cup,” said Pellegrini, justifying his priorities in the season.
With the top Premier League teams having to take part in up to four different competitions (Premier League, Champions League/Europa League, League Cup, and FA Cup), we have seen several top clubs suffer from long injury lists, thus severely limiting their options.
The FA Cup winners earn almost nothing when compared to the revenues that clubs get from a good run in the Premier League or the Champions League. This year’s FA Cup winners will earn £1.8 million for winning the competition as compared to the £25 million that will be awarded to the Premier League winners.
To add to that, winning the FA Cup merely ensures qualification for the Europa League, which is not really an incentive for a Champions League team like Manchester City. Also, the FA Cup begins in the second half of the season, when the teams are faced with crucial Premier League and Champions League fixtures. This could be a huge reason as to why the cup competitions seem to be losing their importance in England.