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'Nobody cares about the players!' - Guardiola admits Man City struggling with hectic schedule

23:10 BST 26/09/2020
Pep Guardiola Manchester City 2020-21
The Spanish coach believes his players are being stretched too thin and the next month poses a real problem for the club

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has hit out at a hectic football calender, claiming "nobody cares about the players".

After a mid-week win over Bournemouth in the Carabao Cup, Guardiola declared he only had 13 fit players as City struggle to bounce back to full strength after a short pre-season. 

Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus have both been sidelined with injury, while Bernardo Silva, Joao Cancelo and Oleksandr Zinchenko are also battling fitness issues. 

Aymeric Laporte and Ilkay Gundogan, meanwhile, are both yet to play this season after testing positive for coronavirus. 

With City set to back up against Leicester City in the Premier League on Sunday, Guardiola believes too much is being asked of players at an admittedly tough time for everyone. 

"The reality is what it is. It is not just Man City, it is all the clubs and countries. Nobody cares about the players," Guardiola said. 

"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.

"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 face a gruelling next week with their match against the Foxes to be followed by an EFL Cup clash against Burnley on Wednesday before another league game against Leeds United on Saturday. 

After seeing 17-year-old Liam Delap score on debut for City against Bournemouth, Guardiola declared the club will look to give more academy players a chance to step up and play a bigger role during a difficult period. 

"With the situation we have right now, we need players from the academy. We have just 13 players fit," Guardiola said.

"Jason Wilcox is the academy boss who helps us have these players. That’s why you have the academy. When you need players we can use it. It depends on the quality of the player."