first_imgBirmingham City manager Gianfranco Zola has told talkSPORT the FA Cup is no longer a priority for teams thanks to the money on offer in the Premier League.Much has been said about the falling prestige of the famous cup competition and there is renewed focus on the matter after Leicester City and Derby County made 18 changes between them in their fourth round replay on Wednesday.Birmingham themselves were knocked out by Newcastle in a third round replay and, speaking to the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast, Zola believes the motivation simply isn’t there for managers.“Unfortunately that’s the kind of money involved in the Premier League and, obviously, going up to the Premier League being a Championship team is huge,” said the Chelsea legend.“More often, they have squads where they have 20 or 22 very good players.“As a manager you have to make them count and, on the one hand, you have to try and go to the Premier League – you have to think about everything.“On the other hand you have 22 quality players and you have to give them a run, you have to play them, because obviously you need to keep the balance in the team.“If you have a squad with 12-13 players that can be in the team, and you have young players that come up, when you have a lot of players that are potential first team players then you have to play them. This is the reality of the situation.“It’s very sad for the FA Cup because it is a great competition and I always say it is one of the best in the world but the reality is that the money isn’t there.“Unless they find a clever way to motivate the teams to play their best teams in this competition it will be hard.”Zola has had a difficult start to life at Birmingham City, after replacing Gary Rowett on December 14, but picked up his first win with a 1-0 victory against Fulham on Saturday.Looking ahead to Friday’s Championship tie with Sheffield Wednesday, the former Chelsea striker insisted his side were still in with a chance of being in the promotion mix if they could put together a winning run.  “This is the nature of the league where anyone can beat anyone,” said the Italian.  “If we are able to go on a run we still have a chance. It’s not easy but we’ve had our problems.“I believe we have been working on them and now if we can manage to produce a string of results we can still be there.“We changed the formation a little bit. We went to play one extra midfielder and we sacrificed one striker to do that.“We got a little bit of balance to the team and even if we were not playing bad we were still losing games and it was affecting the morale and the confidence of the players.“So we needed to bring a little bit of balance and it worked out quite well.”last_img

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