Fixture pile-up looming for City

Last Updated: Thu, 20 Feb 2014 14:21
Manchester%20City

City's FA Cup quarter-final against Wigan has been pushed back to March 9 - three days before the Champions League clash in Barcelona.

The decision is unlikely to do much to improve the mood of City manager Manuel Pellegrini. The Chilean was left fuming after his side's 2-0 defeat at the Etihad Stadium to Barca on Tuesday, with Swedish referee Jonas Eriksson the main target of his ire.

Just three days ahead of the return at the Nou Camp, it has now been confirmed City will face holders Wigan in a re-run of the 2013 FA Cup final, with a 4pm kick-off at the Etihad.

Even programme hosts BT recognises its scheduling is tight for City, stating the game "will fall just days before...the crucial second leg" with the Spanish champions.

City's run of cup games next month begins with the Capital One Cup final against Sunderland on Sunday, March 2.

Following a clash at home to Stoke this Saturday, City do not face another league game for three weeks as their cup commitments kick in.

It is the price Pellegrini's side are paying for attacking trophies on four fronts, although their Champions League hopes look set to fall at the first knockout hurdle.

Despite Pellegrini's rant against Eriksson, claiming he lacked "impartiality", the man whose dismissal played a key role in City's demise does not feel the referee should shoulder the responsibility.

With the game evenly poised, Argentinian defender Martin Demichelis was sent off early in the second half for a challenge on compatriot Lionel Messi that resulted in the latter scoring the opener from the penalty spot.

Assessing the incident, Demichelis told The Sun: "I tackled him (Messi) because we were still outside the box.

"But I don't blame the referee. It happened all too fast. I have seen the moment again on TV and think 'Why did I have to tackle him and not keep running by his side?'

"I was sure I would get the ball when I made the tackle. And then you think that you will steal the ball from Messi, you realise that you don't. But I made the foul."

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