'No chance' - Rio Ferdinand dismisses Man City's hopes of Champions League glory
Rio Ferdinand believes that Manuel Pellegrini sabotaged the most ample possible opportunity to finish his time at Manchester City with silverware, when he sent out an inexperienced side to face Chelsea in the FA Cup.
The Chilean manager selected six teenagers, five of whom were making full debuts, to take on a Chelsea outfit determined to see a difficult season end on a positive note.
Subsequently, at Stamford Bridge, City were drubbed by 5-1 in what proved a record defeat since the club was taken over by owners from Abu Dhabi.
Conceivably, City can still end the campaign with three trophies; they face Liverpool in the Capital One Cup final this Sunday and are fourth place in the Premier League, six points behind front runners Leicester City.
And, of course, there’s the Champions League. Speaking on BT Sports prior to City’s 3-1 victory over Dynamo Kiev, Ferdinand said that the FA Cup represented a tangible goal for Pellegrini, while European club football’s top prize does not.
“Has he really got much chance of winning the Champions League, in my eyes? No. Has he a chance of winning the FA Cup? Yes he has, and it’s silverware. As a player you want to get your hands on silverware, and the best opportunity was the FA Cup.”
Pellegrini may cite fixture congestion and his right to prioritise the Champions League over England’s oldest domestic competition as the reasons for him selecting such a callow, untested team, but Ferdinand was adamant that simply isn’t good enough.
Remembering the trophy laden, halcyon days he enjoyed with Manchester United, the former centre half explained that, when playing for an elite club, the schedule is a demanding one.
What’s more, he wondered if the City’s players are in the right frame of mind knowing Pep Guardiola will soon be at the helm.
“When you’re winning and successful at the top of your game as a club, part and parcel of that is playing loads of games and dealing with it.
“The games are coming and all it is, is like a rollercoaster of emotions. You’re up for a game, down for two days and back up again. It all becomes normal and part of your day-to-day process of being a top player at a top club.
“There’s the Guardiola issue now. They’ve been inconsistent anyway; adding to this is Pep Guardiola, new manger coming, and the manager they have now going away. How does he motivate them?”