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FA Cup: Pellegrini wants City’s youngsters to shine

Ahead of Sunday’s English FA Cup fifth round cracker at Stamford Bridge, City boss, Manuel Pellegrini has charged young players in his team that the tie will give them the opportunity to showcase their talent.

But to Chelsea manager, Guus Hiddink, the match will be a hard nut to crack for the Blues.

Pellegrini says that there will be a number of youngsters involved in the FA Cup tie at Stamford Bridge because there won’t be recovery time for his team before the Champions League Round of 16 clash in Ukraine on Wednesday next week.

However, the 62-year old backed his young guns to give a good account of themselves in London on Sunday afternoon.

“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,” the manager told City’s website.

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.”

Meanwhile, Guus Hiddink expects a big response from City when they travel to Stamford Bridge for the FA Cup fifth round clash on Sunday.

With a place in the quarter-finals at stake it’s all to play for as the two sides meet in the competition for the third time in four years.

“They were a bit unlucky in the last games but big teams always react,” Chelsea’s website quoted the Dutchman to have said Friday. “Big teams don’t allow an array of defeats, so we are warned.

“If you see Man City playing you’ll know they have players who like to play the short game which is very threatening. When in full possession of the ball they can outplay an opponent rather easily.”

Hiddink foresees City make a number of changes in his team for the FA Cup because of the Champions League tie against Dynamo Kiev, but he doesn’t necessarily believe that this will work to Chelsea’s advantage.

“One, two or three young players will give 120 per cent effort, so it’s not always a favour,” said Hiddink, who has never lost an FA Cup fixture in charge of the Blues, having won the tournament during his previous spell at the helm in 2009.

The Dutchman was asked about his own side, and whether or not he was expecting to ring the changes.

“Not many or hardly any because we’re taking this game very seriously,” he responded. “We have a serious approach to the FA Cup. Let’s see what happens on Sunday, we’ll take ourselves and them very seriously.”

On John Terry’s injury, the manager said: “He will not be fit for this weekend. I saw him this morning (Friday morning), he worked with the physios and yesterday he tried to do a bit on the pitch but he has too many issues to be fit for the weekend.

“I hope next weekend he will be available. I cannot predict it, we have to be cautious with him as he likes to be there every day but we must be careful.

“Of course it’s a disappointment because he’s the leader of the team. On the other hand I’m not going to complain or moan because the guys who are taking his place have my full confidence. In Paris they produced a decent performance.”

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