London: Guus Hiddink has warned Chelsea not to take victory for granted after Manuel Pellegrini vowed to go through with his threat to send out a weakened Manchester City team in the FA Cup fifth round to be played today.
Chelsea manager Guus Hiddink & Man City’s Manuel Pellegrini
With City due to make the long flight to the Ukraine on Monday ahead of their Champions League last 16 first leg tie at Dynamo Kiev on Wednesday, Pellegrini had pleaded with the FA not to bow to demands from TV networks to move the Chelsea game from its original Saturday date. But Pellegrini’s request was ignored and City, who also have to prepare for next weekend’s League Cup final against Liverpool, are forced to head to Stamford Bridge 24 hours later than they wanted. In response, Pellegrini has promised to field a starting line-up of untested youngsters.
"We always try to play with a strong team in every competition, every competition is important, especially the FA Cup. We are very interested in continuing in this Cup, but as I said a couple of weeks ago, you want to protect the English team in the Champions League. We must prioritise Champions League, so we’ll see what is the best team we can put on the pitch for the FA Cup," he said.
It appears Pellegrini has handed Chelsea a gift-wrapped place in the quarter-finals, but the Blues manager believes the City kids could pose a threat because they will be motivated to make the most of a rare moment in the spotlight. Hiddink also felt City, stung by successive defeats against EPL title rivals Leicester and Tottenham, will be desperate for a morale-boosting win.
"A big team always reacts. We are warned. We’ll take ourselves and them very seriously," said Hiddink, who will be without injured captain John Terry.
"Hypothetically, if Man City play a younger side they will go to 120 per cent effort so it does not always work in your favour. Let’s see what happens," added Hiddink.
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