Pep Guardiola Claims No One Cares About Player Welfare During Congested Schedule

Ross Kennerley
Guardiola has a paper thin squad to play with
Guardiola has a paper thin squad to play with / Marc Atkins/Getty Images

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has accused football of focussing on 'business' as opposed to the well-being of the players with fixtures coming thick and fast at the beginning of the season.

After the shortest pre-season in Premier League history, there has been no let up for clubs who are left to deal with various domestic and international fixtures.

City, for example, will play eight matches before 31 October, including two Champions League clashes, with players also expected to travel for international duty. Speaking ahead of Sunday's visit of Leicester, Guardiola claimed he has only 13 fit senior players and said his squad are 'not machines'.

"Nobody cares about the players. It is about the business," he said pre-match, via the BBC. "The reality is what it is. It is not just Man City, it is all the clubs and countries. Nobody cares about the players.

"Everyone - the Premier League, UEFA, EFL - has defended their own business and position. The players had a two-week pre-season and now they have to play every three days for 11 months. We will not change anything saying the opposite.

"I understand it is an exceptional situation for everyone - restaurants, theatres, cinemas, museums. Everyone is struggling. We are not an exception. We have to believe in what we are doing and try and play a good game.

The son of Kevin De Bruyne and Mesut Ozil could play on Sunday.
The son of Kevin De Bruyne and Mesut Ozil could play on Sunday. / Visionhaus/Getty Images

"We have three players who came back from national teams injured. We cannot control that. They let them play two games in four days without preparation. They are not machines."

City welcome the Foxes without Bernardo Silva, Joao Cancelo, Oleksandr Zinchenko, Aymeric Laporte and Ilkay Gundogan for Sunday's clash, while striker Gabriel Jesus and Sergio Aguero will be sidelined for three and seven more weeks respectively.

That means Guardiola could hand a Premier League debut to 17-year-old Liam Delap, who scored on his club debut in the Carabao Cup victory over Bournemouth in midweek.

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