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Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola bemoans "completely crazy" fixture schedule

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola bemoans
© Reuters
Pep Guardiola takes his City side to West Ham on Saturday.

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola says teams are facing a “completely crazy” schedule, particularly those that are playing in Europe.

Guardiola, who has had a number of injury issues in his squad to contend with of late, takes his side to West Ham on Saturday.

That is one of three away games for City in eight days, amid a 23-day period featuring seven fixtures between international breaks.

Guardiola has had a number of injuries to contend with of late (Catherine Ivill/PA).
Guardiola has had a number of injuries to contend with of late (Catherine Ivill/PA)

Speaking on Friday at his press conference ahead of the West Ham contest, Guardiola said: “The schedule is completely crazy for everyone, especially the teams that play in Europe.

“Right now I don’t know my selection. We play tomorrow at 12.30, so not much recovery. Today the guys trained really well and tonight we will decide.”

He added: “This league always was so difficult and everyone can lose everywhere. The teams who have seven, eight days to prepare game by game, they have a huge advantage.

“On the other side, the teams who compete to win titles and be on top, it is the way we have to live. If we cannot adjust or accept or handle this situation, you cannot be manager (of) or play in these teams.”

Reports emerged earlier this week about talks regarding a European Premier League, and Guardiola also said on Friday: “When you have all the squad, you have more chances to win games, of course. We’re doing as much as we can, (but) it’s difficult to sometimes control it.

“New competitions in Europe, they want to create new things, and always the same, just two or three weeks a year to rest.

“For the players, this is the crazy, crazy situation for all of them.”

Fernandinho hobbled off late on during City’s 3-1 Champions League win over Porto on Wednesday with a leg injury, and Guardiola had said after the game that he thought he would be out for four to six weeks.

Fernandinho is now expected to be sidelined for less than a month (Phil Noble/PA).
Fernandinho is now expected to be sidelined for less than a month (Phil Noble/PA)

But the manager had a positive update on Friday, saying the 35-year-old Brazilian is now expected to be sidelined for less than a month.

“The injury is tough but yesterday the results were a little bit more optimistic, so I think it will be shorter than one month,” Guardiola said.

Kevin De Bruyne and Aymeric Laporte missed the Porto contest – and last weekend’s 1-0 win over Arsenal – through injury, while Nathan Ake was also not part of the matchday squad on Wednesday due to a groin issue.

De Bruyne and Laporte have returned to training, and when asked whether either of them or Ake would be involved on Saturday, Guardiola said: “Yes, some of them will be involved, some of them no. You will know tomorrow.”

Gabriel Jesus and Benjamin Mendy are definite absentees. Regarding forward Jesus, who has a quadriceps injury, Guardiola said: “He’s getting better but it was a tough injury. Still, he cannot train with us.

“I know when he will start, he will be ready – he is a guy who gets the form quick. But right now I don’t know (how long). Maybe one week, two weeks more.”

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