Guardiola says teams are ‘not ready’ for Premier League restart

City manager says he will rotate to tackle fixture conjestion ahead of Arsenal’s visit

Jack (right) and Jaydan Silgran play football outside the Etihad Stadium ahead of Wednesday’s Premier League restart. Photograph: Martin Rickett/PA Wire

Pep Guardiola believes Manchester City and other Premier League clubs are not ready for games every few days because players have been "on the sofa" for most of the three-month layoff caused by coronavirus.

City return to action with today's visit of Arsenal and have at least 12 matches left as they are still in the Champions League and FA Cup. The schedule becomes hectic from next week, when they play at home to Burnley on Monday, at Chelsea on Thursday, and in the Cup on Sunday at Newcastle.

Guardiola said of the fixture congestion: “We are not ready. Not just Man City, all the teams. But that’s why we have to rotate and use all the players.

“You can play a game after three weeks of holidays but we were two [months] of holidays lying on the sofa, doing nothing much, and that’s why the players are not fully fit. But we have to start and we have to finish the season because the damage economically to all clubs must be as little as possible.”


Although nine substitutes can now be selected and five used, the manager said: "We were worried with these three weeks about the incredible lack of preparation, not like in Spain or Germany, for example, where they worked for five or six weeks.

“It is what is. All the people with their businesses and shops, they have to adapt. Everyone has suffered in this situation personally and economically, and we have to adapt. As quick as possible would be better. They are training good but I don’t know exactly their physical condition and for how many minutes they will be at the high level.”

Guardiola’s mother, Dolors Sala Carrió, died of the virus in early April. “What I live personally is the same as everyone lives,” he said. “There is nothing different. All the people we lost are important to their families. That is why we have the families to be together, to be strong. It was not different to any other person in the world.”

– Guardian