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Premier League festive fixtures ‘killing’ my players, says Guardiola


Manchester City’s Spanish manager Pep Guardiola / AFP PHOTO / Geoff CADDICK /

The manic festive fixture list is what makes the Premier League unique, but to Pep Guardiola it’s having a severe detrimental effect on those playing in England.

The Manchester City manager blasted the Premier League for ‘killing’ its stars as teams juggle four matches in 13 days – with some in a shorter period.

Guardiola has called for changes to be made to the festive schedule are brandishing the treatment of players as ‘not normal’.


‘How many injuries the players have in the last weeks – we’re going to kill them,’ he said after Tuesday’s 3-1 win over Watford. ‘The federation has to reflect. It’s not normal guys.

‘This is not basketball, it’s not tennis – players need recovery. See how many players get muscular injuries in that period but the show must go on.

‘They make a lot of anti-doping to control us (but) we don’t protect the players. Everyone is in this business for the players. Not for you, not me, for the performance of the players.

‘Here in England we don’t protect them. You can play every three, four or five days but not every two days.

‘I’m not saying change the amazing thing on Boxing Day but you cannot play at midday at Selhurst Park and then come back two days later.’

Guardiola expressed his concerns after having to contend with two games in three days. In that time he has seen injuries to Kyle Walker, Kevin De Bruyne and more seriously to Gabriel Jesus.

West Brom complained to the Premier League after being asked to play twice in three days, having pleaded for a postponement with Tuesday’s 2-1 defeat at West Ham coming just 51 hours after their New Year’s Eve 1-1 draw with Arsenal.

Leicester had only 213 hours between the start and finish of their four fixtures, while Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has bemoaned the schedule publicly too.

Evidence suggests that Premier League clubs are right about this. On Wednesday, freelance injury data analyst Ben Dinnery highlighted the increase in injuries.

There was a 26 per cent rise in injuries last month compared to November. The increase in this statistic between October and November was just 10 per cent.
In addition too, the No of soft tissue injuries in December rose by 45 per cent.

With the festive period, which began on December 22, coming to a close on Thursday after Tottenham’s clash with London rivals West Ham, Sportsmail takes a look at the injuries that the top-flight clubs are currently dealing with as a result of this time frame…

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