Manchester City won’t rest players in hunt for a quadruple
Pep Guardiola says his will adapt to the packed schedule of being in four competitions
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola: wary of the trip to Cardiff for his team’s fourth-round FA Cup tie on Sunday . Photograph: Hannah McKay/Reuters
Pep Guardiola has said Manchester City will challenge for an unprecedented quadruple by adapting to an intense schedule rather than resting players en masse as Manuel Pellegrini did when the club had a chance of winning all four competitions two years ago.
Starting with the English League Cup final on February 25th, Guardiola’s side will play four matches in 11 days. After facing Arsenal at Wembley on that Sunday, City travel to the north London club the following Thursday for a league fixture. They then host Chelsea three days later before flying to Basel for the next Wednesday’s Champions League last-16 first leg.
Pellegrini, Guardiola’s predecessor, had been furious at being forced to play an FA Cup fifth-round tie at Chelsea on February 21st 2016 rather than it being been moved a day forward to the Saturday as City were at Dynamo Kyiv in the Champions League the following Wednesday. He fielded a vastly inexperienced side at Chelsea, having stated he would not buy a ticket to the match, and City were beaten 5-1.
Guardiola said: “That situation was different to now – the club tried to speak to ask for the fixture to move to have one more day to go to Kyiv. I understand what the club did, but here the TV decide the fixtures and we’ll adjust.
“We are going to play the final at Wembley on February 25th and on Thursday against Arsenal in the Premier League; Sunday it’s Chelsea, then Champions League after that. We’d prefer more time but we are in four competitions and we have to adapt.
“That’s not going to change – the fixtures, the rules. I give my opinion [to the authorities] but nothing will change and we have to adapt. Sometimes you have one more day, sometimes less days because the TV decide.”
Guardiola is wary of the trip to Cardiff for his team’s fourth-round FA Cup tie on Sunday. “I saw them against Mansfield [in the previous round] and saw the way they play. I have a lot of respect for what they do – they do it well. We know it will be complicated.”
The City manager turning up in person to watch Sunday’s opposition proved to his opposite number at Cardiff Neil Warnock that Europe’s most lauded coach was taking his side seriously.
“That is a bit of class, that,” said Warnock. “He’s got hundreds of staff and yet he came to watch. I thought, well done to him. It means he cares; you’ve got to take your hat off to that.” – Guardian