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Pellegrini: Youngsters have opportunity to shine

Manuel Pellegrini has confirmed that there will be a number of youngsters involved in City’s FA Cup fifth round tie at Stamford Bridge.

The Chilean underlined his disappointment that the match couldn’t have been played at least a day earlier to give his squad more recovery time before the Champions League Round of 16 clash in Ukraine.

However, the 62-year old has backed his young guns to give a good account of themselves in London on Sunday afternoon and also updates on the injury situation concerning some of his senior players.

“Sagna worked today after ten days out, Mangala is injured - Nasri, De Bruyne and Bony are also out," he told journalists at City Football Academy.

“Bony has started working on the pitch these last two days. He needs at least one week more.

“Tomorrow we have a squad list - I have to talk to the doctor and the players who’ve recovered.

“We have just 13 players available to play - we have to play Champions League on Wednesday - we’ll see the best team we can play on Sunday.

“We couldn’t play on the Saturday for some reason, so we put out the best team we can.

“Young players have the option and they must take their chances. We normally have some young players in the cup - one or two maximum. I hope with the team we play against Chelsea, we hope they make the performance that we know they can.”

Manuel also put forward his belief that changes to the way the FA Cup is scheduled could aid English teams in European competition.

When he was asked if he believes that replays should be scrapped, he said: “Something must change because the Capital One maybe is a cup for the first part of the season and you always play Wednesdays, it’s no problem.

“The FA is more difficult - you must start postponing games to get there as it’s at weekends.

“Something is not correct with the cup - if you continue the final, you have to postpone three Premier League games and then fit them in later.

“You don’t have time to play those games if you continue in Europe too.

“We always try to play with a strong team in every competition as they are all important - especially the FA Cup. We had two difficult draws against Premier League teams away and won 3-0 and 4-0.

“It’s not so difficult to change one day of one game - if they can do it in other leagues, they can do it here.

Although City have a Capital One Cup final and a Champions League knockout round game to negotiate, Pellegrini stopped short of describing this week as decisive in the season  but he did call it an important one.

“It’s not a break point - it’s an important week as we can win the first title and we can make one step further in the Champions League by reaching the quarter final for the first time,” he added.

“For me always the priority is the next game but we must make an exception now because of so many injuries. After that, we have to play a really important 180 minutes against Kiev.”

“We never think about four trophies - we go game by game. We must focus our mind in the present.”

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On This Day: 19 February