Man City boss Pep Guardiola expresses frustration over congested fixtures

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Man City manager, Pep Guardiola has expressed frustration over congested fixtures that are piling up.

The Spaniard cut a frustrated figure during his press conference ahead of the Premier League game against West Ham United. The noisy neighbours will be playing three away games in the space of eight days.

Guardiola, who lost Brazilian utility man, Fernandinho to 4 weeks leg injury, during their Champions League clash against Porto during the week, said players are playing ‘too much’ football because of the congested fixture schedule.

Pep Guardiola during a press conference for West Ham United game

This made the Manchester City boss express belief that they will suffer injuries as a result.

Fernandinho has now joined Gabriel Jesus and Benjamin Mendy in the treatment room. The trio will therefore miss the trip to the London Stadium, while Kevin De Bruyne, Aymeric Laporte, and Nathan Ake all face late fitness tests.

“I love football, I love to play football, I love watching it on television – I love everything, but it’s too much.

“I know the business but it’s too much for the players. The players don’t have a rest mentally or physically.

“This is going to happen because they are not consulting with anyone. There are 365 days and you have to put all the competitions and all the games [in], and especially right now with what happened last season with COVID-19, it’s reduced the calendar so it’s more difficult – but it’s too much,” Guardiola said,

He further said it’s too much for everyone, especially for teams participating in European competitions, while it could be less for the other clubs.

Guardiola explains the impact of congested fixtures

Ahead of today’s clash against West Ham, he said not having a pre-season takes a toll on a team.

City was eliminated in the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League against Lyon. They were therefore given just a month break by the Premier League to resume action for the new season – this is just a week off after the start of the Premier League ahead of other teams.

Explaining his frustration, Guardiola said teams had just ten days to get ready for the season. This to him was not normal unlike the time they will play for ten months, then get a month or two breaks for players to recharge their batteries and return in good shape.

“You finish the season and you start another one, you finish the season and you start another one. I would love to play a lot of games, to play during eight, nine or 10 months an incredible amount of games is okay, but you have to take a break for one or two months and make a good preparation to protect the players.

“To have a pre-season like it was before of five or six weeks that can relax minds and players can enjoy their own lives, but now you have 10 or 15 days you have to start again.

“You go to the pre-season and you have to win the pre-season, you have the Community Shield, you have the first games and that’s why the players get injured, so it’s normal. It’s no secret so you just pray every day and [hope] everyone finishes the game without a problem. But it is what it is.”

Guardiola’s Man City future uncertain

Meanwhile, Guardiola’s contract will expire at the end of the season. According to a report on Friday, it was suggested City are in talks with the 49-year-old over an extension, which the manager denied.

The former Barcelona manager further stated that the uncertainty surrounding his future won’t affect the players.

“They want to play good every single game. When they are on the pitch they do absolutely everything with one manager or the other one because they are incredible professionals and want to do it well, so nothing changes.”