Manuel Pellegrini’s decision to hand full debuts to five teenagers for Manchester City’s FA Cup encounter with Chelsea has been branded disrespectful to the competition.
The Chilean’s players found themselves hopelessly outplayed by a near full-strength Chelsea side who ran out 5-1 winners in the last 16 tie.
His decision had been made clear well before the sides took to the pitch, with the Citizens’ boss suggesting that he “had no choice” as to change his side up with a busy schedule ahead of them.
The Etihad outfit now travel to Kiev for a Champions League tie on Wednesday before making the trip to Wembley for the Capital One Cup final next Sunday, all the while preparing for a final push for the Premier League title.
However, while the defeat may have been expected with the line-ups taken into account, Ladbrokes’ social media poll showed that many were not happy that the City manager disrespected the competition.
It wasn’t a clear cut decision though, with 54 per cent getting on Pellegrini’s back, while the remaining 46 per cent defended him by suggesting that he made the right decision.
— Ladbrokes (@Ladbrokes) February 22, 2016
Disrespectful was not the word that some users felt best suited to describe his tactics, with the words “stupid”, “insanity” and “an embarrasment” chosen by a handful of the social media masses.
You’d be hard pushed to blame the young players for the defeat – a couple of the debutants performed relatively well – but not very often will you see the shirt numbers of the players that feature add up to nearly double their collective age.
Naming a youthful side may have been “forced” upon him, but for many, Manuel Pellegrini’s surrendering of their cup status was a step too far.
Should they lose to Dynamo Kiev in midweek or Liverpool next weekend – two fixtures they are odds-on to come out best in – or even both, then expect a backlash from the Citizens’ fans at the former Real Madrid manager’s expense.
All odds and markets correct as of the date of publishing.