Chelsea ‘disappointed & angry’ about FA Cup scheduling – Di Matteo

The Blues' interim manager is likely to have to juggle a semi-final at 18:00 on April 15 just three days before a probable Champions League clash with Barcelona or AC Milan
Chelsea interim manager Roberto Di Matteo insists that the Football Association has severely damaged his side's Champions League hopes by scheduling their FA Cup semi-final against Tottenham at 18:00 on Sunday April 15.

The game is set to take place just three days before a probable European semi-final for the Blues against either Barcelona or AC Milan.

The Italian suggested that a more continental approach of playing the cup fixture on Friday April 13 in order to allow more time between crucial games might have been better, telling The Guardian: “We are disappointed and angry.

"Look at the other federations: They give their teams the best possible preparation. It does make a big difference, that extra 24 hours"
“Look at the other federations: they give their teams the best possible preparation, playing even a day before rather than the day after, whether you are due to play on a Tuesday or Wednesday.

"It does make a big difference, absolutely, that 24 extra hours.

“We've tried to communicate with the FA, and to co-operate with the FA, and it's disappointing that common sense hasn't prevailed. I'd have been happy with a Friday night kick-off but it seems as if our point of view has not really been taken into consideration.”

Di Matteo recognised the various interests involved in the scheduling but questioned who the choice really benefits.

“A lot of authorities are involved in making the decision: the safety and security of the supporters [is taken into account], the views of the TV rights holders, the FA … a lot of people are involved,” he continued.

“They have their reasons for not wanting to play the game on the Friday and, ultimately, we have to respect them.

“This year we're looking at just one [English] club left in the quarter-finals [of the Champions League] and that doesn't reflect well on England, the Premier League or the FA.

“It's in everybody's interest for clubs to get further in the competition – the Premier League's interest and that of the clubs and for the country, for Uefa points in the Champions League. So we're disappointed.

“But, anyway, we still have a job to do to qualify for the Champions League semi-finals.”

Chelsea are 23/10 with Paddy Power to win the FA Cup this season
Everton manager David Moyes was also frustrated with his side’s lot, having been put down to face local rivals Liverpool in London at 12:45 on April 14.

“I've never been a great fan of semi-finals being played at Wembley and the kick-off time is not ideal for supporters, but that's the time we've been given,” he added.

“The kick-off time makes it difficult for most people but, if you look at it, people might understand why it has gone to that time.”

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