Guardiola planning to use all of his players in holiday fixtures
Manchester City have St Stephen’s Day visit to Leicester, and then host Crystal Palace
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola: he wished Ole Gunnar Solskjær all the best at Manchester United. Photograph: Reuters/John Sibley
Manchester City are having to train on Christmas Day for their St Stephen’s Day visit to Leicester, but Pep Guardiola is trying to see the positives in the English festive fixture schedule.
“You get a lot of games at this time of year in England when in Germany and other countries the league stops for a week,” the City manager said. “One advantage I can see is that it is easier to keep the players happy because at some point they will all be needed.
“You can also try different things in competitions like the Carabao Cup. John Stones played in the holding midfield position for Fernandinho in the last game against Leicester and he was incredible.”
Guardiola will make a couple of changes to the team for the home game against Crystal Palace on Saturday, although David Silva is not yet ready to return from the hamstring injury sustained in the recent defeat by Chelsea.
Guardiola knows what it is like to return to a former club as a young, untested manager, and wished Ole Gunnar Solskjær all the best at Manchester United but professed himself perplexed about why José Mourinho chose to spend his 2½ years in Manchester in a hotel.
“I don’t really know why he did that. Speaking for myself I like to have my family close by – that is normal I think.”