City Hiccup No Concern!

Last updated : 06 January 2014 By Footy Mad - Editor

City suffered a hiccup - and were condemned to an unwanted replay - as they were held to a 1-1 draw at Championship Blackburn in the FA Cup third round.

The sides will now have to meet again at the Etihad Stadium on January 15, a fixture that will fill a rare blank midweek slot in City's busy schedule.

Already this month City face West Ham in a two-legged Capital One Cup semi-final and have further Barclays Premier League games against Newcastle, Cardiff and Tottenham.

Finally seeing off Blackburn would merely add to the congestion ahead of the resumption of the Champions League next month but Negredo is embracing that challenge.

The Spaniard, who took his goal tally for the season to 15 by putting City ahead at Ewood Park, said: "It wasn't an easy game for anyone.

"We did take the lead but in the end we drew. Now we have to play an extra game.

"That is not what we wanted but that is what it is and we will have to play the replay at home.

"Hopefully we can go through at the Etihad Stadium. It was a bad day but we have to keep working and reach the next round."

The 28-year-old was disappointed that his own effort was not enough to see City through.

He said: "It was important to score. It didn't mean the victory or that we got through to the next round but we have to keep working hard, as we are doing."

After seven changes, City did not find their usual intensity but their side still boasted international quality.

Their start was sluggish and Blackburn made the early running but Negredo's effort just before the interval looked to have put them on their way.

But Blackburn responded positively and when Costel Pantilimon spilled a header from Rudy Gestede - an error which will raise questions of Pellegrini's goalkeeper rotation policy - Scott Dann smashed in the equaliser.

Both sides then had chances to win, and Rovers were indebted to veteran keeper Paul Robinson, on his first appearance for 13 months, for good saves from Edin Dzeko and Jesus Navas.

The match proved a personal success story for Robinson, 34, who suffered a blood clot on the lung last year that he was later told could have killed him.

City were left hanging on after Dedryck Boyata was sent off for a second bookable offence in the 85th minute and Rovers threw caution to the wind, but Tom Cairney and Jordan Rhodes missed late chances.

It was a rare uninspiring performance from City and one they will hope to get out of their system before their first semi-final meeting with West Ham at home on Wednesday.

Negredo said: "The main thing is to recover well after all the games.

"A good thing about this club is we have a big squad with a lot of players, so we can rotate without the change changing the way we play.

"Hopefully we can get a good result in front of our fans and get a good result to go with to West Ham."

For Blackburn, 10th in the Championship, a promotion push is the obvious priority but their performance underlined the growing feeling of stability at the club.

The past three years since the controversial takeover by Venky's have been torrid for Rovers, who were relegated in 2012, but signs for the future look brighter.

The passion in the side was evident as Grant Hanley and Chris Taylor argued after Negredo scored.

Manager Gary Bowyer said: "We were disappointed with their goal, because it might have been offside.

"But the response from the lads was unbelievable. We said at half-time we would learn a lot about them in the next 45 minutes and they were tremendous.

"They have a never-say-die attitude and they played some good football at times too."