Doctors must force changes


Chelsea attacker Pedro suffered a hamstring injury in the win over Southampton

Chelsea manager Guus Hiddink says Premier League club doctors should put pressure on the game’s authorities to change the fixture calendar.

Hiddink is unhappy Chelsea’s FA Cup sixth-round tie at Everton will be played on Saturday, 12 March.

Chelsea were due to play Liverpool in the Premier League on 13 March and he doesn’t see why the cup tie could not have been arranged for the same time.

Hiddink said: “I am frustrated. We have to protect the players.”

Manchester City’s Manuel Pellegrini called for change after playing a weakened team in his side’s 5-1 fifth round defeat at Chelsea, and Crystal Palace’s Alan Pardew also expressed his unease with the situation.

The FA said the present fixture calendar is “untenable” after having to schedule Arsenal’s FA Cup fifth-round replay at Hull for Tuesday, 8 March (19:00 GMT) on a Champions League night, which Uefa’s rules only allow in exceptional circumstances.

Chelsea will now have to play four games in 12 days across the Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup.

They travel to face Norwich on Tuesday and welcome Stoke next Saturday, before their Champions League last-16 second-leg tie against Paris St-Germain the following Wednesday and the FA Cup tie three days later.

“Hopefully the PSG game doesn’t go into extra-time because players need time when the intensity of the league is like it is,” Hiddink said.

“The medical people at the FA and the Premier League should make this known. Every club has medical departments. The doctors should stand up and say: ‘FA, television, whoever…. hey’.”

Meanwhile, Hiddink said Spain forward Pedro suffered a “problem with his hamstring” in Saturday’s 2-1 win against Southampton.

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