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4 January, 2018 00:00 00 AM
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City manager Guardiola warns fixture pile-up will kill players

AFP

AFP, MANCHESTER: Pep Guardiola saw Manchester City return to winning ways at the end of the Premier League's exhausting holiday schedule, but warned the English game is in danger of destroying its top stars.

City beat Watford 3-1 on Tuesday, 48 hours after the leaders saw their 18-game winning streak come to an end in a draw at Crystal Palace. A spell of four games in 11 days has taken its toll, with City's Brazilian striker Gabriel Jesus sustaining a knee ligament injury which will sideline him for four to six weeks.

Full-back Kyle Walker also limped off after the victory over Watford with what appeared to be a groin injury. “We are going to check it out, he (Walker) might have a little problem,” Guardiola said.

“But what everyone saw in the last weeks is how many injuries the players have. We are going to kill them.

“The federation bosses have to reflect a little bit. It's not normal to play (December) 31st and two days later. “I know the show must go on, but... that is not normal.

“They (the authorities) have to control it. They don't protect the players and they are who the people come to watch.

Guardiola is the latest in a long list of high-profile managers to question the traditional English fixture schedule this season, his Manchester United counterpart Jose Mourinho being chief among them.

And while the City manager believes in the traditions of the English game, he believes the Premier League will have to review television schedules which have led to a lopsided fixture list with some teams playing on two-days recovery and others up to five.

Meanwhile, Jesus' loss is a blow to player and club, especially in a World Cup year that promises so much for the 20-year-old Brazilian star.

De Bruyne's performance against Watford was a particularly impressive effort, given that he only passed himself fit four hours before kick-off.

The same was true of the returning David Silva, who had been absent due to complications involving the health of his pregnant wife.

The midfielder has been travelling between Manchester and Spain and Guardiola is prepared to give the Spanish international more time off if he requires it.

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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