Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne has called on manager Pep Guardiola to rotate his first XI amid an unrelenting winter schedule.
The festive period is a notoriously busy time in football, but with the coronavirus pandemic continuing to have an effect on the sporting calendar, players have had to juggle domestic, continental and international commitments recently.
Guardiola has become renowned for his rotation during his stint in the Etihad dugout, and with more athletes coming down with injuries and testing positive for COVID-19, De Bruyne believes that shuffling the pack is key to navigating this taxing period.
In quotes attributed to the Manchester Evening News, De Bruyne said: "We always try to play our football, control the game and score goals. I hope we can recover some of the players out soon and we can afford to rotate a little bit, which is necessary at the moment with so many games going on.
"We need to keep working hard and our level is going to get back. There are still a lot of games to play. The title race is going to be a battle. It's something that I expected even before the season started. It's going to be different this year, everybody knows that."
City's last game saw Guardiola's men suffer a 2-0 defeat to current Premier League leaders Tottenham Hotspur, but the Premier League giants will look to confirm their qualification for the Champions League knockout stages when they take on Olympiacos on Wednesday.