Man City boss Pellegrini defends Abu Dhabi trip after FA Cup exit

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini has insisted that his side’s week away in the United Arab Emirates did not influence their shock defeat to Middlesbrough in the FA Cup on Saturday, reports ESPN.

Following their loss to Arsenal last time out in the Premier League, City flew out to Abu Dhabi and took part in a friendly with Hamburg on Tuesday. They did not return to England until Friday evening, giving them little time to prepare for the visit of the Teeside club.

City should have entered half-time in the lead after creating several opportunities in the first period, but were denied by desperate defending and some fine saves from Tomas Mejias. However, it remained goalless and they fell away after the break and went behind when Fernando was unable to prevent Chelsea loanee Patrick Bamford converting from close range.

Spanish striker Kike wrapped it up on the break late on for the Championship promotion hopefuls, leaving many to question the trip to Abu, but Pellegrini is adamant that it did not play a part in deciding the result. He said: “I don’t agree but you can have your opinion. I have a different opinion.

“We had six or seven clear chances to score at the beginning. I think we played very well. After they scored the goal we were disorderly and they had another counter-attack and they could score more goals.

‘But it is very easy to say that [about Abu Dhabi]. I don’t think that is the reason. You can analyse the game and if you think that is the reason, that is your reason but I have a different opinion from that.”

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