Pellegrini hits out at Man City defending after FA Cup scare

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini has slammed his side’s defending in the first half of their 4-2 win over Watford on Saturday in the FA Cup fourth round, reports the London Evening Standard.

The Premier League title hopefuls – who have only failed to win once at home all season – found themselves two goals down at half time and staring a major cup upset in the face as Fernando Forestieri and Troy Deeney gave the Championship side a deserved lead.

During the interval, Pellegrini re-organised his team’s defence by bringing on captain Vincent Kompany along with Pablo Zabaleta, and two Sergio Aguero strikes brought Man City back to level terms.

The decisive goal came with three minutes left on the clock as Hornets goalkeeper Jonathan Bond allowed Aleksandar Kolarov’s long range shot to go straight through him, before Aguero completed his hat-trick in added time.

Despite his side’s comeback, Pellegrini was hugely critical of the defending on display. He said: ‘Yes, of course, I was very worried. If you don’t play with 100 per cent concentration and intensity you don’t win the game. I think Watford did in the first 45 minutes and we played jogging. That way it is impossible to win.

“If I could have changed 11 players at half-time I would have changed all of them. But it was more the thing of attitude and intensity than the performance of individual players. The whole team didn’t do the things we normally do. The important thing was Watford didn’t score the third goal. If they had scored the third goal the game was finished.

“Watford didn’t surprise me. If you give professional players time and space they will make the difference. If we didn’t make good pressing we were not going to have an easy game. That was what happened in the first half – and we were a disaster defending.”

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