It has occurred yet again. Another Premier League manager has complained about the heavily congested fixture list in England. You would think that that was a problem for the past, wouldn’t you?
But, no, in this modern world, managers can’t seem to have enough squad depth to compete with their full strength team in all competitions during the season. I don’t actually blame the managers for it, however, because sometimes they are just the face of all the action that goes on behind the scenes during the transfer period. It is often that they aren’t the ones that decide whether to purchase more players or not, and if so, who. Take Pellegrini for example, at Man City. It’s hard to argue that he elected to purchase Raheem Sterling for the outrageous sum that he was bought for. No, it was the executives of the club that made the decision.
Clearly, Pellegrini doesn’t have as much power at City as some see him as having, even though he is the manager of the team. He is more of the coach, rather than the manager, if that makes any sense whatsoever.
So, when the time came for him to make a decision on whether to go with a full-fledged team in the FA Cup against rivals Chelsea just three days before an away Champions League knockout clash against Dynamo Kiev, or to basically give the Cup away by playing youngsters, he wasn’t being helped by the people higher up the ladder at the club. He was to shoulder the blame that just comes from poor transfer policies around the club.
Obviously, he went the safer route and decided not to risk his star names in fear that they might get too tired, or worse, injured in the process. This is actually quite the contrary to what we’ve seen him do in the past. He is usually the kind of guy who risks all or nothing. However, that seems to have changed in Pellegrini a bit over the years that he’s been at Man City.
His decision though, reflects more on the poor transfer systems at Man City than it does on him personally. When you compare Man City to the likes of Barca, Bayern, and Atleti, who had games on the same day that they did, City just don’t have enough depth to successfully covet every single position with at least 2 or 3 quality players like some of those giants.
On the other hand, Luis Enrique’s Barcelona team haven’t rested Messi, Suárez, and Neymar for more than a game this season, and almost every week Barca had to play both at midweek and during the weekend. During international breaks, none of the Barca players, spare the young ones, were actually given a true break as they had to oblige by their duties to their respective national teams. And the last time I checked, none of them were complaining of being overplayed.
Times are changing, but the transfer systems also need to adapt with it, especially at some of the English clubs that plan to go on to bigger and better things. Injuries shouldn’t be used as an excuse in the negative manner, but clubs should expect to suffer from it and use it instead in a positive note to bring in more players. Though it will increase the job on the manager’s hands at times, it will save them from having to face disgraceful scenarios such as the one aforementioned.