Pep Guardiola hits out at ‘impossible’ fixture schedule

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Pep Guardiola has hit out at the ‘impossible’ schedule placed on Premier League sides and the relentless demands placed on players this season.

Guardiola has been a public critic of the congested nature of the fixture schedule and has been angered once more following an injury to Kevin De Bruyne. The midfielder limped off during the 2-0 win over Aston Villa and is expected to miss four to six weeks with a hamstring injury.

The Belgium midfielder will now miss this weekend’s FA Cup clash with Cheltenham and is also expected to be absent for crucial Premier League clashes with Liverpool and Tottenham next month, alongside City’s Champions League last-16 first leg with Borussia Mönchengladbach.

De Bruyne’s injury is one of a concerning number of injuries across the division with players placed under greater demands than ever before, City having already played six fixtures this month across all competitions.

Guardiola has blasted the ‘impossible’ nature of the football calendar and has once again called for changes, warning that players will continue to ‘suffer’ if not provided with adequate rest.

“It’s impossible,” he complained on Friday. “To demand they are fit for 11 months playing every three days is impossible.

“There are injuries at all the clubs. We knew it and we have tried to avoid it by taking better medical care of the players. But they are human beings. With this amount of competitions, the body says it’s enough.

“When we demanded five substitutions, it’s for this reason. Why can we do it in the FA Cup but not the other competitions.

“I’m not just saying it because it’s Kevin. It’s too many games and competitions, in the end, the players suffer.”

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