Not surprisingly, many Premier League club bosses, some of whom are caught in similar circumstances having to cope with FA Cup replays, have thrown in their lot with Klopp in defense of the German’s unyielding stance not to include his top XI line-up, including himself, in the FA Cup replay against Shrewsbury Town this coming 4th or 5th Feb:
Jose Mourinho (Spurs): “I’m not happy the break comes at the wrong moment – because the break should be before the Champions League. In the end, before the Champions League we don’t have a break.
Ralph Hassenhuttl (Southampton): “Flights are getting cancelled. In the end I think we should have overtime, it is a cup game and we should have a winner or loser. Now we have a replay in our winter break and that doesn’t make sense for me.”
Karl Robinson (Oxford United): “Are you asking my chairman or me? My chairman wants it [the replay], trust me. But I don’t think it [scrapping them] would be a bad thing. We’re now going to play nine games in February with a squad of 20 players. We don’t have the funds or resources to do that. We’re going to hit over 60 games this season, which is ludicrous. My players’ bodies are at breaking point. It’s not fair.”
Mark Bowen (Reading): “Neil [Harris, the Cardiff manager] is the same as me in that we didn’t want a replay. A lot of teams throughout the leagues get stretched by replays.”
Brentford boss,Thomas Frank, delighted that his side did not score a late equaliser against Leicester City, which the Foxes won 0-1, had this to say: “What I didn’t want was a draw so if we scored in the last minute there was only two options. One was to take the centre-backs out or we put everybody up and I don’t understand how we can have replays in the FA Cup. I love the culture and the tradition in England, but I don’t get [replays].”
Match of the Day host Gary Lineker hit the nail smack on the head with his blunt rejoinder:
“I don’t see the point of replays anymore, it’s a bygone era. No other country in the world have them. If you have a draw after 90 minutes as a lower-league club, then you almost have a 50-50 chance of getting through in a penalty shootout.”
It’s obvious the FA need to take a more focused look at the entire scenario and review the confusion that their tunnel-visioned implementation of the schedules for FA Cup replays has caused. They should be working alongside the Premier League instead of at a tangent to it for the overall betterment of English football. Players and coaches alike need rest like anybody else. The physical, psychological and emotional demands imposed on them in the course of an entire season balancing a giddying mesh of League, European championship titles, Carabao Cup and other Domestic Series Cups fixtures exact a punishing toll on their bodies and minds, injuries notwithstanding.
Dolts like Adam Holt should be excoriated for going around with their blinkers on and creating divisive wedges with ascerbic, condemnatory remarks just because their clubs are so far out of the pecking order that they are absolutely cluless as to the zany schedules that everyone else in the PL have to cope with.
Not every club boss enjoys the sadistic liberty of twiddling their thumbs in the dug out and watching their heavily fatigued, beleaguered charges suffering senseless replays that are totally unnecessary.