Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has had his say on the ongoing controversy concerning the festive period fixtures pile up. There have been criticisms from different quarters regarding the scheduling with some teams having to play two games within 48 hours.
City is one of such teams as the Sky Blues will play two Premier League matches in less than 48 hours. This is as a result of fixture changes for live television coverage during the festive season. City’s game away at Wolves is now scheduled to start at 19:45 local time on December 27. The team will then take on Sheffield United at the Etihad Stadium on December 29. With the game kicking off at 18:00, that’s less than 48 hours recovery time for the players.
As if that’s not bad enough, the next game will be against Everton on January 1, 2020. With three games to play in six days, the Blues boss was asked how his players will cope.
“I’m concerned for the players - it’s a business.
“The people do not care about the players. He’s injured? OK, another one,” he said.
“The broadcasters pay a lot of money. They don’t look at these players or this club. What is best for my money now, to pay back, they do it. That’s how it works,” he further stated.
Quizzed on how he intends to keep them fresh through the period, he gave a rather funny answer:
”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.
However, the Catalan then went on to express his determination to get the best out of the situation.
“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 behind or eight in front.
“That’s why we achieved what we did. This year we will try with the problems that we have in several positions. We accept it. We’ll be stronger,” he concluded.
Some have said the schedule gives Liverpool an advantage as the Reds will have more rest time. But considering the fact that Jurgen Klopp’s men will travel for the Club World Cup within the period, things will balance out.
Certainly, the schedule is counterproductive for both clubs and players in the long run. But adopting a positive attitude and making the best of the situation remains the best approach until things change. Therefore, the manager will need to make the best use of his squad depth and rotate players as much as possible.