The Roar
The Roar


'Unacceptable': Pep rages over schedule after Silva's golden strike lifts City into FA Cup final, Gunners go top in EPL title race

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20th April, 2024

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has slammed the FA Cup scheduling after watching his side beat Chelsea 1-0 to reach the final, three days after their treble bid was ended by Real Madrid in the Champions League.

Portuguese playmaker Bernardo Silva’s 84th-minute goal at Wembley on Saturday ensured City maintained their pursuit of back-to-back domestic doubles.

Silva had his feeble effort saved in the midweek shootout against Madrid but he made amends when he converted Kevin De Bruyne’s cross from the left at the far post via a deflection from Chelsea defender Marc Cucurella.

Chelsea had their chances to take the lead, but the best of them was missed by Nicolas Jackson.

City, who were without fatigued striker Erling Haaland, lacked their usual zip and, despite reaching another final, Guardiola was clearly agitated at his side’s lack of recovery time after the heartache of Wednesday’s Champions League exit.

Guardiola was fuming about his team’s crowded schedule in the lead-up to the semi, telling the BBC post game that “it’s unacceptable”.

“Coventry, Chelsea, [Manchester] United didn’t play in the week, and they let us play today. Next week, on Friday would be better. Instead of Saturday, put it on Friday, it would be better,” he said.


“It’s impossible. For the health of the players, it’s not normal. It’s not possible. Not acceptable to go 120 minutes against Madrid, with the way we lost, and the [FA Cup] semi-finals .

“This country is special, but for the health of the players. I don’t understand how we survived today. I don’t understand.

“I just want to protect my players. It’s common sense. I’m not asking for something special or privilege.”

He paid tribute to the strength of his team to bounce back after the Champions League heartbreaker.

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 20: Bernardo Silva of Manchester City celebrates after scoring his side's first goal during the Emirates FA Cup Semi Final match between Manchester City and Chelsea at Wembley Stadium on April 20, 2024 in London, England. (Photo by James Gill - Danehouse/Getty Images)

Bernardo Silva celebrates after scoring at Wembley. (Photo by James Gill – Danehouse/Getty Images)

“Mentally, it’s so tough to recover from it. These guys are legends – they’ve done it for seven years,” he added.

“They proved it again. I don’t understand how they survived. Hats off.”


Manchester United meet Coventry in the other semi-final on Sunday, with the final set for May 25.

Meanwhile, Arsenal have recovered from a horror week by returning to the top of the Premier League with a 2-0 win at Wolves.

The Gunners endured potentially season-defining back-to-back defeats as they lost to Aston Villa in the league last Sunday before being knocked out of the Champions League by Bayern Munich on Wednesday. 

But they returned to the summit of the Premier League on Saturday thanks to goals from Leandro Trossard and Martin Odegaard at Molineux, moving a point above Manchester City, who have a game in hand. 

With the Gunners facing Chelsea on Tuesday, they could be four points clear of City by the time the reigning champions next play in the league against Brighton on Thursday. 

That would be a big swing in momentum after what was diagnosed as a seemingly terminal defeat against Villa last week, with Liverpool, who also play twice before City are in action again, currently three points behind. 


“Massive win for us, it was a tough week for us. I think a few tough results and hard emotionally but we had to keep going,” Odegard told Sky Sports.

“Today was all about bouncing back and getting the win and we did that so I’m happy.

“It was tough, a big disappointment, obviously we wanted to go further in the Champions League, the game before [against Aston Villa]. It is hard but the good thing in football is that you always get another chance and still a long way to go and still tight in the race so today was all about getting back to business and we did.”

“Wolves are a good team, well organised. A physical team who defend well and they made it hard for us but we just had to keep on playing and we knew that we were going to get the chances and the goals in the end.”

Luton’s Premier League survival hopes were dealt an enormous blow after they suffered a 5-1 home defeat to Brentford, which virtually guaranteed the visitors a fourth consecutive season in the top flight. 

The 18th-placed Hatters could have moved out of the relegation zone with a win, but were undone by a slick attacking display from the Bees led by Yoane Wissa and Bryan Mbeumo. 


With Ivan Toney not involved due to his ongoing hip issue, Thomas Frank watched his fluid front four run riot at Kenilworth Road with Wissa on target twice in the first half to reach 10 goals for the campaign. 

Ethan Pinnock made the points safe with a third in the 62nd minute before Keane Lewis-Potter claimed a deserved goal two minutes later. 

The brilliant Mbeumo had a hand in Brentford’s fifth when Kevin Schade fired home after 86 minutes and despite a stoppage-time consolation for Luke Berry, the afternoon belonged to Brentford after they moved on to 35 points – 10 above Rob Edwards’ strugglers with four matches left. 

Burnley ran out 4-1 winners at Sheffield United in the battle of the bottom two to throw themselves a Premier League lifeline. 

Jacob Bruun Larsen and Lorenz Assignon struck in the space of two minutes and against the run of play at the end of the first half, before the Blades threatened a comeback when Gus Hamer pulled one back early in the second. 

But further goals from Lyle Foster and substitute Johann Berg Gudmundsson crushed the Blades’ hopes as Burnley maintained their late bid for survival. 


Vincent Kompany’s side have now taken 10 points from their last seven matches and climbed to within three points of 17th-placed Nottingham Forest, who play at relegation rivals Everton on Sunday.

with AAP