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Man City Boss Manuel Pellegrini Denies Damaging FA Cup Chances With Abu Dhabi Trip

There were plenty of raised eyebrows after Manchester City went abroad to play in mid-week friendly fixtures…

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini has defended his decision to take his squad to Abu Dhabi earlier this week, despite arriving back in England just 19 hours before their shock FA Cup defeat to Middlesbrough.

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The Chilean will have plenty to dwell on following a second successive home defeat in all competitions, with a trip to Premier League title rivals Chelsea coming up next weekend.

City started the game well against their Championship opponents and looked eager to avenge their defeat to Arsenal. However, they grew more and more frustrated as the game wore on and began to tire in the latter stages of the second-half.

Speaking after the game, Pellegrini was quoted by the Sun, saying: “I don’t agree that the late flight was the reason but people can have their opinion. It’s easy to have an excuse, but I don’t think that was the case.”

“Before they scored the first goal, we had five or six clear chances. They didn’t have one chance. But we conceded a very easy goal, and the game changed. We were nervous. They are a team who work well. That’s why they are second in the Championship.

“They had opportunities to score more goals and deserved to go through. Now we must continue in the Premier League and Champions League. I wanted to continue in all the competitions but now we must focus on the Premier League and Champions League.

“We now have a difficult game against Chelsea.I am concerned not because it’s the Chelsea game, I’m concerned because in the last two games we haven’t scored at home and in the last four games we have conceded two goals.”

Patrick Bamford and Kike scored the goals for the visitors on a day of shock results. Jose Mourinho’s side also went out to lower league opposition, losing 4-2 at home to Bradford City.

Tottenham lost at home to Leicester City, while Liverpool were held to a goalless draw by Bolton. In total, just three Premier League teams progressed – Crystal Palace, West Brom and Leicester.

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