Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola says his players could not bask in and enjoy their impressive 5-0 win over Burnley on Saturday as hectic match scheduling had sucked some of the joy out of the beautiful game.
Covid-19 forced last season to finish late and this campaign to be condensed into a shorter period, with a bunch of club coaches lamenting the unsettling schedule.
Coaches believe the brutal match schedule has contributed to more player injuries.
City, who bounced back from last week’s defeat by Tottenham Hotspur and moved up to eighth with the win against Burnley, travel to Porto for a Champions League game on Tuesday before facing Fulham in the Premier League on Saturday.
“The problem is the players lose the joy of playing football,” says Guardiola.
“Before it was nice playing once or twice a week with spectators. Now it’s three days and then another one. We will travel to Porto to win, then prepare against Fulham.”
City are struggling in front of goal as they have netted just 10 times in their opening eight games before Saturday’s victory and Guardiola said his strikers must deliver if they are to retain their spot in the team.
“The goals help us, of course. Gabriel Jesus has to score goals. Raheem Sterling when he plays has to score. They have to score more goals. That is why they are here. It depends on the players, their performance on the pitch,” adds Guardiola.
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By Tokelo Martin Mokhesi