Manuel Pellegrini: Man City can cope with January fixture pile-up

Manuel Pellegrini

Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini insists his side can cope with their busy January fixture list after seeing them held by Blackburn in the FA Cup.

City were to spend a week warm-weather training in Abu Dhabi from 13 January but must now stay home for the replay.

If they reach the fourth round, City will play eight games this month with the Capital One Cup semi-final and a midweek league match against Tottenham.

"It's not an extra problem," Pellegrini said. "We have the squad to do it."

He added: "We play Blackburn instead of travelling to Abu Dhabi and playing a friendly. What is better? Nobody knows."

City made the short trip to Blackburn on the back of four straight away wins and 11 wins and a draw in their last 12 games in all competitions.

That run included a victory at the home of European champions Bayern Munich but on Saturday they were unable to impose themselves on their spirited hosts, who are 10th in the Championship.

Dedryck Boyata's late red card meant City ended the game with 10 men but even before that Rovers matched their more illustrious opponents.

Pellegrini added: "Am I disappointed with our performance? No, I would be disappointed if we were out of the FA Cup.

"We are not lucky to still be in the cup but it was a very close match against a strong team on their home ground.

"Blackburn had a lot of motivation, which is normal when a Championship team plays a Premier League team."

Rovers boss Gary Bowyer was full of praise for his side after their performance against last season's beaten finalists.

"It was an absolutely phenomenal effort from our lads against a world-class team," he said.

"They have restored some pride to the club. Our players showed the spirit they have got and I have nothing but pride and praise for them."

Former England goalkeeper Paul Robinson returned to the Blackburn team after a year out with illness and the 34-year-old made one stand-out save from Jesus Navas with the score at 1-1, and also denied Edin Dzeko and Fernandinho.

Bowyer added: "It would be wrong of me to pick out individuals, but on this occasion with the fact Paul has not played for as long as he had, he made some crucial saves in the second half and his experience helped us massively."

Bowyer sent on two strikers - Jordan Rhodes, who has scored 16 goals in 24 league games this season, and DJ Campbell - in the last 10 minutes in an effort to win the game, but admitted their focus must be on the Championship.

He said: "It was an opportunity to give Jordan a little bit of a breather but we felt 'why not have a go' when we brought him and DJ on.

"It is the league that is important but at the same time we embrace the romance of the FA Cup, and we went out for the winner."

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