Pep Guardiola has again raised the issue of player fatigue. Speaking before City’s Premier League clash with Wolves, the City boss suggested the only people who could change the fixture congestion are the players.
Following on from last season’s treble success where they played 61 games, City have been busy so far this season. With the season in its infancy, the champions have already played 9 times. With a congested football calendar and internationals and more games being added annually the issue appears to be growing.
Pep Guardiola was asked about the fixture congestion in his press conference before City’s clash with Wolves. He told the media that the players held the power. He said: “There is only one solution to change something. Maybe if all the players decide for themselves to say ‘stop’, then you have to change something. And then FIFA, UEFA will maybe react a little bit.”
The City manager proposed a break, similar to the NBA off-season. He added: “Always I use the NBA as an example. They play 80 games in a few months, but after that, they have three months off, or four months off if you don’t play the finals, and you can regenerate, the managers and everything, new ideas, and after you can go full-full. The problem here is that you go full-full and, after, you have three weeks off.”
The treble winners have suffered from injuries amongst the squad since the start of the season. Kevin De Bruyne is out until the New Year with a hamstring injury. John Stones, Jack Grealish, Mateo Kovacic and Bernardo Silva have all spent time on the sidelines.
The number of injuries so far this season may be the new normal as UEFA and FIFA continue to add more games to the calendar with no regard for the player’s welfare.