Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola divulged that he cannot field the same back-four every game because he believes that his squad and players cannot handle the load with a World Cup around the corner. The Spaniard also added that while they have been good defensively, they could improve.
Ever since Pep Guardiola arrived at Manchester City, the club has become known to consistently switch their lineups around without it affecting their performances on the field. That has been credited to the fact that City possesses one of the best squads in England and even in European football, with them packed to the rafters with world-class talent. But things have been taken to another level this season as Guardiola has been extra cautious with a World Cup around the corner.
That hasn’t helped though as City are without John Stones and Kyle Walker through injuries while Aymeric Laporte, Nathan Ake, and Ruben Dias have had different problems over the last few months. It saw Guardiola admit that while he would love to keep the same back-four for every game, he believes his team cannot handle it because of their injuries. He also added that he needs his team ready for the long season ahead and thus can’t risk it.
“I would love to have the same back four but they cannot handle it. The players we have cannot handle every three days of being fit, other teams might be able to, but we can’t. Nathan can’t, Rúben last season, Stones. Aymeric came back from a big injury so it’s important for us that everyone can play and everyone can perform well,” Guardiola said, reported the Guardian.
“If you want to be in there with all the titles we are fighting for, and with the World Cup [coming up], and be in that position to fight until the end then we need to be ready, otherwise it will be so difficult.”
The Cityzens have been an offensive force this season, netting 44 goals across all competitions with a large portion of that coming in the Premier League. But they’ve also responded defensively, with just ten goals conceded despite all the rotations and changes but Guardiola admitted that they can still do a lot “better in many aspects”.
“It’s good but we can do better in many aspects. If we have a period when we play every three games we don’t have much time to analyse or think about the situation. After Liverpool [on Sunday] we have a week and have more time but now you don’t have much time to reflect on how we’re attacking or defending."
“In general it’s good because in the last two games we have played better, scored a lot of goals and conceded few chances. It is the level we had in the previous four or five seasons and I like that, it means the team is still here, it didn’t disappear,” he added.