Man City boss says fixture list congestion a ‘disaster’ for players
The Premier League’s congested schedule is a “disaster” for players, says Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola.
City, who have a 12-point lead in the table with a game in hand, face Watford on Tuesday, their fourth match in 11 days over the holiday period.
Guardiola saw key players Gabriel Jesus and Kevin de Bruyne suffer injuries at Crystal Palace on Sunday.
The Spaniard said: “If you tell me that technically, physically it’s good for the players: no, it’s a disaster.”
City confirmed on Monday that Jesus had suffered a medial collateral ligament injury and would “undergo further examinations to establish the extent of his lay-off”.
Jesus later wrote on social media: “Thank God it is not very bad and I won’t have to go through any surgery. Promise to be back as soon as possible!”
City’s run of 18 successive wins came to an end with the goalless draw at Selhurst Park, the first time they have failed to score in the league this term.
Their 246 hours between the four matches over Christmas and New Year is one of the longer gaps in the Premier League, with Leicester having only 213 hours between the start and finish of their four fixtures.
Having managed in Spain and Germany, where winter breaks are employed each season, Guardiola said of the British domestic structure: “It’s a tradition. I have to adapt.
“Sometimes you have three days’ recovery, sometimes four, sometimes two, everybody is the same.
“Last season we had less recovery than this season, maybe next season we will have a little more.
“It is what it is. This kind of thing I can give my opinion, but do you believe I am going to [get the authorities to] change something? No way.”
Guardiola, who urged referees to “protect” players from overly physical challenges, will be without Jesus “for a little more than a month” and is still waiting to learn the extent of De Bruyne’s injury.