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21st Apr 2024

Bernardo Silva slams ‘unacceptable FA’ in extraordinary rant

Callum Boyle

Bernardo Silva

Tell us what you really think, Bernardo

Bernardo Silva is the latest high-profile figure to call out the Football Association over the fixture schedule.

Silva scored the only goal of the game as Manchester City beat Chelsea 1-0 to reach the FA Cup final for a second year in a row.

City played their FA Cup clash three days after their Champions League heartbreak, in which they lost to Real Madrid on penalties in the quarter finals.

Those in the City camp have expressed their anger at having to play just three days later and Silva was one of those.

‘I don’t think it’s acceptable we have to play’

Speaking to the media after the game, the Portugal international said it wasn’t fair on the players’ welfare having such short recovery times.

He said: “Today we didn’t play on a level field because the FA didn’t give us a chance to recover. Which in my opinion is not reasonable at all.

“I’m just saying because we won. If we didn’t win, I wouldn’t say because I don’t like to find excuses. But today I don’t think it’s acceptable we have to play.

“It’s too much. Today was too much. We played 120 minutes less than three days ago, and we had to play against a team that didn’t travel because they’re from London. And they had five days waiting for us and thinking about our game.

“There’s no excuse for the game to not be tomorrow. It’s not acceptable. For all of us as a team that’s how we feel.”

The midfielder also admitted that he doesn’t hold much hope for any improvement on the situation in the future.

“It looks like they don’t care because we’ve said it many times. It’s not about wanting to be favourites, it’s about health,” he continued.

“I played 90 minutes today. Me, Kevin, Phil. I wasn’t fine at all. I wasn’t fine. I’ll be honest, I was feeling my left hamstring and my right calf. This is not fair for Man City, for us.

“When I say Man City, maybe other clubs went through it, this is just our personal experience. They have to pay more attention to these details.

“We represent England in these European competitions and it’s important for England for this country for other clubs to qualify for the Champions League, Europa League, Conference League. So they need to pay more attention.”

Try playing at non-league

It’s fair to understand the argument from a player perspective. At an elite level, you need to be in top condition and no doubt put your body through a lot in each and every game. But playing in a Champions League quarter final and an FA Cup semi final just days later is a luxury.

Take non-league for example. Postponements and other unforeseen events throughout the year often means clubs experience a backlog of games towards the end of the season.

Colne in the North West Counties League have to play six games, with one even being on a Friday and the next a Saturday as well as regular Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday patterns.

Those players will also be working full time jobs, giving up pay to travel to these games before going back to the grind the day after. Do they complain? No. They’re just expected to get on with it.

And unlike their high-profile counterparts, they aren’t also blessed with world class facilities that are designed to help with recovery and keep players in perfect condition.

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