Friday, March 22, 2019

Guardiola blames schedule for City injuries

SoccerNews in English Premier League 24 Feb 2019

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Pep Guardiola says Manchester City’s busy schedule has contributed to injuries for Aymeric Laporte and Fernandinho.

With Gabriel Jesus and John Stones already sidelined, Laporte and Fernandinho were both injured during Sunday’s EFL Cup final win against Chelsea.

Games are coming thick and fast for Guardiola’s side, who are in the thick of a Premier League title race and still in the FA Cup and Champions League. 

Fernandinho’s injury could be particularly costly for City with the Premier League champions having no natural deputy for the experienced midfielder, who Guardiola expects to be out for “weeks”.

And after leading City to retain a major title for the first time in the history of the club, Guardiola hit out at the number of games his team are being asked to play.

“Usually there is one cup competition, here there are two,” he said. “In the beginning of the season it’s a chance to give people rhythm and minutes. But for the next competitions, it’s so tough.

“But it’s normal. A lot of games. We demand a lot of these players. Look at [Manchester] United today. It’s not exclusive with Manchester City. We demand a lot of the players, the pitches aren’t good, the weather, the ball is even not good. So people fall down.

“I’m still impressed how they can still play games without any injuries but, in the end, it happens. There are fewer games in other countries. We play Schalke with important players not playing, but I trust our squad. We will find a solution.

“Laporte felt something in the last action of the first half, and Fernandinho felt something muscular. So I think it will be weeks out.”

Earlier on Sunday, Liverpool moved top of the Premier League, a point clear of City, after a 0-0 draw at Manchester United.

That game was also marred by injuries with United losing Ander Herrera, Juan Mata and Jesse Lingard before half-time, while Roberto Firmino had to be replaced for Jurgen Klopp’s side.

But Liverpool are still the frontrunners in the title race, according to Guardiola, although the gap is minimal with 11 matches remaining.

“I didn’t watch it too much, I knew there were three injuries, but I didn’t really watch it. We are closer,” added Guardiola. 

“Still they are leading, still they are the favourites, but let’s not think too much about them.

“Let’s recover the players and then concentrate on what we have to play: we play Wednesday, then 12.30 at Bournemouth [on Saturday].”

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