Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce has slammed the English Football Association for scheduling a Premier League fixture in the middle of the week after the third round of the FA Cup. The team are struggling to save relegation and the former West Ham manager insists that the schedule is such that they have to rest players for the Cup games or face fear of burnout, following a hectic Christmas period.
Sunderland play Arsenal at the Emirates in the FA Cup, days before a crucial league fixture against Swansea City. The Swans are currently 17th in the league and a win here for Allardyce's men will see them go within a point of the Welsh club and give them a massive boost in terms of results to keep them out of the relegation zone.
Arsene Wenger has also revealed that he will look to rest his big stars against Sunderland, as the holders look to prioritise the league, where they are currently positioned on top, two points above Leicester City, following their win over Newcastle. Allardyce went on to claim that the organisers are destroying the FA Cup by imploring managers to rest their key men, with crucial league fixtures in and around the tie.
"If you want us to respect the FA Cup then you don't put a Premier League fixture there, do you?" Allardyce said, as quoted by Goal. "So don't be giving me stick when I change the side, when the Premier League have put a fixture midweek. Give the Premier League stick, not the managers.
"Why put one in there? We've got the rest of the season after that and we've just done six games in 24 days. We're flogging the lads. It's a game to be enjoyed, not a game to be destroyed and we destroy the game by asking the players to do too much in this period. It's a fact.
"Injuries are more and more apparent every year, but it's completely ignored by the Premier League and they fit a fixture in during midweek after the New Year. It's diabolical, it really is," he added.