Pep Guardiola says Man City suffered 71 injuries from Atletico Madrid and Liverpool FC double-headers
Pep Guardiola says Manchester City physios have administered 71 treatments to first-team players over the last two weeks as he detailed the extent of their injury crisis after double-headers with Atletico Madrid and Liverpool.
City faced a two-legged Champions League quarter-final with Atletico, with a Premier League showdown with Liverpool in between followed by an FA Cup semi-final with Liverpool on Saturday – all in the space of 10 days.
City travelled straight from the second leg in Madrid to London for the semi-final at Wembley, where Guardiola made seven changes and was without Kyle Walker through injury. Ahead of the Premier League fixture with Brighton, Guardiola said his squad have been stretched to the limits thanks to the intense schedule.
He explained: “I like to work with a big squad, in my experience, I’ve lived it many years in my life as I’ve been in top clubs, we arrive here fighting many times. If you want to fight you have to be fit.
“10 days [we played], Atletico, Liverpool, Atleti, Liverpool for many players after an international break. 25 or 27 players, I don’t like it. I prefer 16, 17, 18 all fit, otherwise it’s difficult to handle it. I live that, in previous seasons, we fought and we won and we were there, at the end of the season the desire is there, we were close.
“If it’s not a specific game, it’s the next one and the next one, you might not have five or four days, you have three, with travel. Our physios made 71 treatments between Atleti and the semi-final. 71, it’s true. When they come and say Kyle [Walker] is ready but didn’t play much minutes, you can handle it that’s why it was more difficult, but you tell me how you compete.”
When pressed if such a high amount of treatments was normal, Guardiola said: “I don’t know but I didn’t ask, they told me as it was more than usual, it was the hotel from the night after the game, it was a lot.
“That’s why they told me. I didn’t ask them what it is normally. Before Liverpool and Atletico it was so demanding, the players give everything, took a plane to Madrid, training. The schedule is what it is.”
“We didn’t have time to train, to prepare a second semi-final with Liverpool. Just videos, images but they have to feel it on the pitch. We had six massage tables watching the training session. We did not go home after Madrid.
“The people don’t believe the decisions you have to take.”