Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has admitted he will play mostly academy players against Bournemouth in the Carabao Cup on Thursday due to the number of players who are injured/ill, as well as the quick turnaround between fixtures.
Guardiola's men kicked off their 2020/21 Premier League campaign with an impressive 3-1 win away to Wolves on Monday evening. This is despite the fact he was without seven first-team squad players, with Ilkay Gundogan recently joining the list after testing positive for COVID-19.
But City have no time to rest and recover as they take on Bournemouth on Thursday before then hosting Leicester City on Sunday. Guardiola has now admitted that the scheduling as well as the number of players ruled out through injury or illness means he will field a team of mostly academy players on Thursday as he prioritises the Premier League.
When asked when the Sky Blues will reach their peak form, Guardiola replied (as quoted by Man City's official website): “I don't know. All we want is the seven players who are out to come back. Against Bournemouth we will play mostly players in the academy and try to keep energy for the Premier League.
“With the lack of preparation and seven players out, we have to keep the players who played today as fresh as possible. We will see how the players recover. We won the Carabao Cup three times and we want to win again but we will have to see.
“It is what it is. We have to adapt. Winning away in this stadium [Molineux] is so difficult. That’s why it’s a good victory for us. We cannot pretend we can recover in three days. That’s the situation we have."
While Guardiola is seemingly frustrated with the current fixture schedule and the lack of first team players he has available, Thursday's clash with Bournemouth will represent an opportunity for a number of youngsters to impress.
The likes of Tommy Doyle, Adrián Bernabé and perhaps even Liam Delap - all of whom were on the bench for City's win over Wolves on Monday - could feature in some capacity.