Man City boss defends Abu Dhabi trip after shock defeat

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini has rejected claims that his side’s recent trip to Abu Dhabi was to blame for their shock loss to Middlesbrough in the FA Cup fourth round.

Last season’s Premier League champions touched down in Manchester on Friday night, less than 24 hours before kick-off against the Boro.

Pellegrini had decided to take his squad to the Middle East to attend a warm weather training camp, however City’s embarrassing 2-0 home defeat against the Championship side – who had chances to score more  – has seen criticisms levelled at the Chilean for the timing of the trip.

However, the City boss is insistent that it played no part in the defeat.

“It is very easy to say it is about Abu Dhabi,” he said.

“I don’t think that is the reason.

“We had six or seven clear chances to score at the beginning.

“I think there are a lot of football reasons rather than Abu Dhabi. They are different things.”

City also played a friendly match against German club Hamburg whilst on the trip. In competitive fixtures, they have now lost their last two games, and face league leaders Chelsea in the Premier League on Saturday in a potential title decider, with second-placed City trailing the Blues by five points.

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