Pep Guardiola launches passionate defence of Manchester City policy ahead of Leeds United clash

Leeds United travel to Manchester City on Saturday lunchtime in the Premier League.

By Joe Urquhart
Monday, 5th April 2021, 2:49 pm
Manchester City head coach Pep Guardiola. Pic: Getty
Manchester City head coach Pep Guardiola. Pic: Getty

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has launched a passionate defence of his rotation policy ahead of a clash with Leeds United.

City face a busy week as they host the Whites in Premier League action on Saturday lunchtime following a Champions League clash with Borussia Dortmund in midweek.

Guardiola's side continue to battle on four trophy fronts this term and City have been forced to heavily rotate their squad on a game by game basis amid a fixture pile up.

The Etihad boss insists his policy is to avoid burnout in his ranks after making six changes for his side's win at Leicester City on Saturday.

This followed a 10-day period which saw a number of players across the top flight feature three times for their countries during the March international break as World Cup qualifying began across Europe.

Guardiola - who sees his team lead the Premier League by 14 points - has now hit out at the demands put on players this season.

“They are human beings, they are not machines,” said Guardiola.

“I know the players, some of them are upset all the time because they want to play every day but this is not possible.

“To compete in all competitions in this year without spectators, in the shortest competition ever, (if) you don’t rotate you don’t compete in all competitions and you will not be in the position we are in now.

“Of course they could play, they have an incredible mentality but they need rest. UEFA and FIFA killed the players because it’s too much. We haven’t had one midweek off since we started, not even one.

“There is no player who can sustain (this), not just physically but mentally to be ready every day to compete against opponents to win the game. It’s impossible.

“I rotate I’m a genius, ‘well done Pep’ but when we lose and I rotate people say ‘why rotate? You have to play the players like normal’. But it’s unsustainable.

“The next game we are going to play fresh legs and against Leeds, more than ever, fresh legs.”