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Nov 29, 2011

Mancini furious over fixture congestion

Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini has joined Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish in condemning the Football League and the Premier League over the scheduling of the Carling Cup quarter-finals.

• Dalglish angered by schedule

City travel to Arsenal while Liverpool make the trip to Chelsea on Tuesday, just 48 hours after the two sides met in the Premier League at Anfield.

And now Mancini says he will leave out his star names to avoid possible injuries from playing two high profile games in quick succession.

Dalglish had already hit out over the scheduling two weeks ago. He noted that if Stoke City had beaten his team in the last round the quarter-final tie could not have been played this week with the Potters facing Dynamo Kiev in the Europa League. But Liverpool were told there was no free space in the calendar to move their date with Chelsea.

The only spare week which the games could have been moved to is the week beginning December 12 - but the Chelsea v Manchester City Premier League game has been moved to the Monday night from the weekend for television coverage. It is believed a suggestion to move that game back to Saturday or Sunday was rejected.

Mancini said: "We will change all the team because this is an incredible situation. For this reason the national team arrives at European Championships and World Cups and they are dying - they do not have time to recover.

"To play in two days, two games like this, after a Champions League game, is incredible. I think the players should say something about this. For the players it is important to play, but it is important also to recover, a minimum three days between one game and another.''

"I agree with him [Dalglish]. I think sometimes we should play with 11 young players, 14-15 years. It is not correct this, not only for us but all the players.''

Dalglish felt like he had to make a point to highlight the issue.

"We're not the first team that has been asked to play Sunday/Tuesday and I don't think we will be the last,'' said the Reds boss. "The reason why we mentioned the fans is because they are more important to us than anyone else.

"We didn't want them to spend money on tickets - as other punters (at other clubs) have done travelling all over Europe - to see a youth team play. We didn't want any comeback from that. We would never want to be accused of being disrespectful of the people who are fantastically supportive to us.

"We didn't want anyone to come back and say 'You never told us'.''

Gareth Barry and Mario Balotelli are both suspended for City's game at Emirates Stadium, further reducing Mancini's options. Owen Hargreaves is likely to feature after recovering from a calf strain. Kolo Toure and Stefan Savic could come in while little-used former England left-back Wayne Bridge might get a run-out.

Joe Hart's back-up Costel Pantilimon is likely to play in goal while squad men Denis Suarez and Karim Rekik, who have been involved in previous rounds, could get chances.

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