Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has slammed UEFA and FIFA for their football scheduling.
Last night saw City lose 1-0 to Leicester City in the Community Shield. Pep fielded a weak team, mostly filled with academy prospects, while Leicester fielded their strongest XI. The reason for this was the absent players from City’s camp, as they are yet to report following the Euros.
Pep slammed the scheduling of the matches, and expressed his concern for the players missing out on matches due to it. The two-time Champions League winner announced that he would take a stand against it, and play how he did last season – late and without the best team.
“We’ll arrive like it happened last season, late late and late because Uefa & Fifa do not allow the players to have rest. Tomorrow and after 7 or 8 players arrive. Rodri trained twice, Laporte isolated. That’s why I guess we will try to get results despite not being at our best.”— Sam Lee (@SamLee) August 7, 2021
“We’ll arrive like it happened last season, late late and late because UEFA & FIFA do not allow the players to have rest,” Pep said.
“Tomorrow and after, seven or eight players arrive. Rodri (Rodrigo) trained twice, (Aymeric) Laporte isolated. That’s why I guess we will try to get results despite not being at our best,” he concluded.
Cause and effect
Pep faced this issue last season, where COVID-19 and a run deep into the already delayed Champions League tournament left him with no pre-season. Subsequently, his team made the slowest start ever, and achieved lacklustre results. The pinnacle of it was a 5-2 defeat at the hands of Leicester City, as Jamie Vardy and company ran riot over an exhausted and hesitant City side.
At least last season could be chalked as the pandemic’s fault, with unpredictability surrounding football itself. However, Pep argues that this time, UEFA and FIFA had all the time in the world to schedule properly.
Instead, he suggested, they put one match and one tournament after another, leaving no room for proper pre-season and for players to rest and recover.
Teams not in Europe do not face this problem, but teams like City do. It is thus a concern for Pep and any team which played for so long that they face the risk of starting the season exhausted and worn out.