Premier League football is back, and Pep Guardiola faced the media ahead of Manchester City’s trip to Crystal Palace this weekend with the Blues looking to get back to winning ways.
The injury list grows thinner, finally. Guardiola’s first order of business was confirming both Kevin De Bruyne and John Stones have returned to training following the break. Adding to that, Benjamin Mendy has trained after the hamstring problem that kept him out of the Wolves defeat.
Sergio Agüero is also fine, but as Pep also confirmed, his car is not.
Guardiola has also provided comments regarding the disgraceful scenes on Monday night where various England players, including Raheem Sterling, was subject to racial abuse by sections of the Bulgarian fans.
He said: “I think UEFA made a step forward. They stopped the game twice or three times. Fight every day for this current situation. Everything we are doing, or going to help to eradicate this.
The players and manager are not alone, everybody is involved. Whatever we decide, we can do.”
Roy Hodgson’s Crystal Palace sit in 6th place in the Premier League and was the latest manager to earn praise from Guardiola:
“I think since Roy Hodgson took over with 0 points and helped to avoid relegation. They have always made a really good season. They have incredibly talented players.
I definitely won’t be doing what he is at that age”
Christmas fixture list
A big talking point in the week was the adjusted fixture list with one thing standing out. City travel to Wolves on the 27th of December for a 7.45pm kick off and then host Sheffield United on the 29th of December for a 6pm kick off. That means City will just have 48 hours between fixtures, something that didn’t go down well at the club and following the statement made by the club yesterday, Guardiola had this to say:
“It is what it is. Since I came here, it happened. The concept is not about in this period. I love to play on Boxing Day and at winter, when families and kids can go to the stadium and enjoy it.
The problem is the system doesn’t protect the players. Another day we will have more recovery than the other one. It is what it is. If we have to play tomorrow, we have to play tomorrow. We have to play, we’re going to play.”
As relayed by BBC Radio Manchester, Guardiola did make quite a remarkable comment on the allocation of fixtures by stating:
“The broadcasters are the bosses, it’s not about us. Maybe the broadcasters are fans of some clubs…”
Make of that what you will.
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