Guardiola irked by hectic match scheduling, provides Aguero update

Man City's Pep Guardiola said the hectic scheduling of games does not allow his boys the joy of playing football.

City had netted just 10 times in its opening eight games before Saturday's victory and Guardiola said his forwards must deliver if they are to retain their spot in the team.   -  Getty Images

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola said his players could not revel in their 5-0 victory over Burnley on Saturday as hectic match scheduling had sucked some of the joy out of the sport.

The novel coronavirus pandemic forced last season to finish late and this campaign to be condensed into a shorter period, with a chorus of club managers lamenting the relentless schedule that they believe has contributed to more player injuries.

City, which bounced back from last week's defeat by Tottenham Hotspur and moved up to eighth with the win against Burnley, travels to Porto for a Champions League game on Tuesday before facing Fulham in the Premier League on Saturday.

"The problem is the players lose the joy of playing football," Guardiola told reporters.

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"Before it was nice playing once or twice a week with spectators. Now it's three days and then another one. We will travel to Porto to win, then prepare against Fulham."

City had netted just 10 times in its opening eight games before Saturday's victory and Guardiola said his forwards must deliver if they are to retain their spot in the team.

"The goals help us, of course. Gabriel Jesus has to score goals. Raheem Sterling when he plays has to score. They have to score more goals. That is why they are here. It depends on the players, their performance on the pitch," Guardiola said.

Guardiola's update on Aguero

Guardiola allayed fears that record scorer Sergio Aguero might have sustained a setback in his recovery from a knee injury.

The Argentina striker underwent surgery in the summer and his return to action has already been complicated by a hamstring injury.

After coming on as a late substitute in City's 1-0 win at Olympiakos in the Champions League on Wednesday, Aguero didn't make the matchday squad for the 5-0 win over Burnley in the Premier League on Saturday.

Guardiola said Aguero had "just a reaction on the knee" and was hopeful the latest problem was not serious.

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"With Sergio, it is how he wakes up," Guardiola said. "He makes good training sessions, but then has niggles in his knee.

"We know the injury he had is not easy for the recovery - we have to handle it as well as possible. When he is ready, he will play. Hopefully tomorrow he can come back to training."

Guardiola previously said Aguero found the last few days difficult following the death of Diego Maradona.


Aguero with Maradona   -  Getty Images

Aguero was once married to Maradona's daughter, Giannina, and she is the mother of his son, Benjamin. Aguero also played under Maradona during his time as coach of the national team, including at the 2010 World Cup.

Aguero appeared as a late substitute in City's Champions League win over Olympiakos on Wednesday.

"The impact on the day of the game against Olympiakos was hard, especially for his son,"Guardiola said on Friday. "Of course it was tough, that's normal. He knew Maradona quite well and, for his son, he was his grandfather."

"It is a sad situation, unfortunately, for his family but he's OK."

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