The global COVID-19 pandemic has done little to slow down the footballing world, and Pep Guardiola is not happy about it.
In a press conference leading up to his side’s Champions League clash with Borussia Dortmund, he complained about this season’s tight schedule, blaming the likes of FIFA and UEFA for it.
They’re human, not machines
Manchester City is currently in contention to win four competitions this season, including the English Premier League, the English League Cup, the FA Cup, and the UEFA Champions League.
Winning all four trophies would be an incredible feat in a normal season, but to do so during a pandemic is unprecedented.
Guardiola emphasized that the players are not machines, explaining that it is impossible for them to play every game. He said:
Of course they could play, they have an incredible mentality but they need a rest. UEFA and FIFA are killing the players because it's too much.
The Spanish manager added that his side has not had one midweek break the entire season. Because of the global COVID-19 outbreak, UEFA retained the same number of matches but shortened the time between them.
This means that this campaign’s group stage lasted from Oct. 18 to Dec. 9, totalling eight weeks. In comparison to last season before the pandemic, the group stage was completed over the course of three months.
UEFA to approve new Champions League format
Sadly for Guardiola, UEFA has plans to increase the number of games in their premier European competition.
Reports have stated that the governing body will vote to increase the number of teams for next year’s campaign from 32 to 36. This would ultimately lead to a higher number of matches, from 125 to 225.