Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini has insisted that he is taking the FA Cup seriously – despite deciding to take his squad to a warm weather training camp in Abu Dhabi this week.
Last season’s Premier League champions arrived back from their camp just 24 hours before they face Middlesbrough in the FA Cup, which has led to accusations that City are treating the world’s oldest club tournament as a secondary competition.
However in a press conference ahead of the tie, Pellegrini was quick to defend his decision.
“We have prepared for it and we will arrive back at the City Football Academy and have our pre-match meeting there,” Pellegrini told Man City’s official website.
“The way the hours differ and direction we fly across time zones will help too.”
City were fortunate to overcome Championship side Sheffield Wednesday in the third round earlier in the month, requiring two goals from James Milner to progress after the Owls had taken the lead at the Etihad. Meanwhile, Middlesbrough – who are second in the Championship – beat Barnsley in their third round tie.
Man City recently announced the signing of Wilfried Bony for £28million from Swansea City, although the Ivorian won’t be available for action this weekend as he is on international duty with the Ivory Coast in the Africa Cup of Nations.
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