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Pep Guardiola "concerned" for Manchester City players during festive fixtures

Pep Guardiola
© Reuters
The Premier League champions have less than two days between fixtures against Wolves and Sheffield United.

Pep Guardiola has quipped he will have to put his Manchester City players in the fridge to cool off during their Christmas programme.

The champions will have just 44 hours between fixtures against Wolves and Sheffield United on December 27 and 29 after changes to the Premier League schedule for broadcasting purposes this week.

The changes have not been welcomed by Guardiola, who feels they are unfair on players, but has insisted he will not complain.

Pep Guardiola
Pep Guardiola is not happy with the change in schedule (Nick Potts/PA)

Asked what he could do regarding player recovery between those two games, the City boss said at a press conference: “(Send the) players to the fridge. I’m not joking. ‘Go home, open the fridge, and get inside for 48 hours. See you at the Etihad Stadium’.

“When I open the fridge to make an omelette maybe I can talk with my players!

“But apart from that, no way (can we do anything). It is what it is. I accept this business. Sometimes it’s good, sometime it is not.

“We will work harder and organise better to do it but I’m concerned for the players. The people do not care about the players.

“Since I came here every season it’s happened the same. The broadcasters are the bosses in this situation.

“I love to play on Boxing Days, in wintertime, when everybody is stopped and families, kids go into the stadium and enjoy the game. I like it.

📺 ➡️

— Premier League (@premierleague) October 18, 2019

“But the problem is the same. We don’t protect the players, the system doesn’t protect the players. It is too much. Honestly, it is too much.”

Guardiola says his side, who have won five of the last six major domestic trophies on offer, have overcome such difficulties before.

He said: “We’ve solved it in the past and we’ll solve in the future. It’s the only way. Don’t complain or call my chairman asking ‘what’s happened?’ or go to the big bosses.

“If we can’t solve anything then we cannot win four titles in one season. We didn’t complain. It never happened when we were seven (points) behind or eight in front.

“That’s why we achieved what we did. We accept it. We’ll be stronger.”

Guardiola thinks it is unlikely clubs would ever be given a greater say in the matter given how much money broadcasters are prepared to pay to screen matches.

He said: “The broadcasters pay a lot of money (for us) to earn a lot of money, all of us. They would have to come back, take this money (back).

“They don’t look at these players or this club but then (think) what is best for my money now, to (have them) pay back? They do it. That’s how it works.”

Guardiola, whose side travel to Crystal Palace this weekend, can at least see one positive to the rescheduling.

Pep Guardiola
Manchester City have won five of the last six domestic titles (Nick Potts/PA)

The Wolves game was originally planned for Boxing Day, so playing it a day later will at least mean a longer gap than other teams after the games on December 21, when City face Leicester.

Guardiola said: “One other day we will have more recovery than the other ones, so it is what it is. It doesn’t matter. We have to play, so we’re going to play.”

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2Manchester CityMan City96122992019
3Leicester CityLeicester9522168817
6Crystal Palace9423810-214
7Tottenham HotspurSpurs93331513212
9Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd933387112
11West Ham UnitedWest Ham93331113-212
12Aston Villa93241513211
13Wolverhampton WanderersWolves92521212011
14Manchester UnitedMan Utd9243109110
16Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton9234912-39
18Newcastle UnitedNewcastle9225514-98
19Norwich CityNorwich92161021-117

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