Pep Guardiola said only an uprising led by players could prompt football’s power brokers to reduce the number of matches in a season. Manchester City’s manager believes a longer summer break is needed to ease the workload but feels his complaints have no impact.
City travel to Wolves on Saturday for their 10th competitive match of the season in just over seven weeks, during which many of Guardiola’s players have also made international appearances.
“I would say every idea to reduce the amount of games for the players would be nice,” Guardiola said. “There isn’t going to be change. There is only one solution: if the players decide for themselves. To say to the organisations ‘stop’, you have to change something. After the statements, maybe Fifa and Uefa react.
“This business, the show must go on. Without Pep? Keep going. But without the players, the show will not go on. It depends on them, they decide [whether to] accept the business, big salaries. Like the Uefa president [Aleksander Ceferin] said to Jürgen [Klopp] and me, don’t complain because you win a lot of money.”
Guardiola’s comments come a day after the Burnley manager, Vincent Kompany, suggested there should be a cap of 60 matches a season for elite footballers. City, despite going out of the Carabao Cup on Wednesday to Newcastle, are still fighting on four fronts, including a trip to Riyadh in December to contest the Club World Cup, a tournament, like the Champions League, that is set for expansion.
Against Wolves, City will be without the suspended Rodri, who may be pleased with the rest after playing 68 times for club and country last season, and have John Stones, Kevin De Bruyne and Bernardo Silva missing through injury.
“The players complain when you play all the time and then complain after one game when they don’t play,” Guardiola said. “In general the players, maybe in the future, will feel it. I love football, it’s just that when we have a break it has to be a proper break. This is my point of view. I always use the NBA as an example. They play 80 games in a few months but then have four months off. You can regenerate. Then after it is full-on.
“The problem here is that it is full-on and after we have three weeks off. For me it’s a lot. It’s my personal opinion. I don’t want to influence it because I’m not going to influence anyone. It has to be the players. If the players want to change something then they are the only ones who can do it.”