Manchester City: Pep Guardiola says he is willing to rest midfielder Rodri

Manchester City: Pep Guardiola says he is willing to rest midfielder Rodri

12 April 2024 0 By Total Football News

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola says he is willing to rest Rodri after the midfielder said he needed a break.

Rodri, 27, has played 41 games this season and indicated after Tuesday’s Champions League draw at Real Madrid that City were planning on resting him.

Guardiola’s side play third-bottom Luton in the Premier League at Etihad Stadium on Saturday.

“If a player doesn’t want to play then he’s not going to play, simple,” said the Manchester City manager.

Tuesday’s 3-3 draw at Real in their Champions League quarter-final first leg made it 429 days and 66 games since Rodri lost a game playing for City in any competition.

Across Europe’s top five leagues only three players have made more starts than the Spain international this season, Arsenal defender William Saliba (42 starts) and two goalkeepers.

He has missed four domestic games through suspension this season, with City losing all four.

“Take a look at our games and then you realise. He’s so important for the quality that he gives,” added Guardiola, whose side go into the Premier League weekend third in the table with seven games remaining.

“I have the feeling that the games when he was tired like against Crystal Palace and Madrid, he was better in the second half. He runs more and was more precise in the second half than the first.

“More than the physicality, it is a case of spending mental energy. Playing every three days, three days. Of course he’s tired, playing a lot of minutes.”

‘We’re past a tipping point’

Guardiola says the increasingly busy calendar is placing a strain on players and leading to more injuries.

City, still competing in three competitions, have played three games in April with another five scheduled, and could potentially face a further six in May, plus a possible Champions League final on 1 June.

“It’s getting worse and worse and worse,” said Guardiola.

Chelsea boss Mauricio Pochettino, who will be without 11 players against Everton on Monday, said: “It’s a special season for us because we are suffering a lot.

“It’s very tough when you don’t have the squad fit.”

Ben Dinnery, data analyst and founder of Premier Injuries, says this season is on course to see a 15% rise in injuries that cause a player to miss a match, with the number of days spent out injured set to rise by 30%.

Speaking to the BBC’s Football News Show, Alexander Bielefeld, head of policy at global players’ union Fifpro, said “patience is running out” among players and unions.

“We’re cannibalising the calendar,” he said. “We’re past a tipping point. We have made changes to squad sizes, we have seen changes to substitutions but frankly all of this is not cutting it.”

Chris Hattersley from the Football Physio said the demands placed on players “are basically too high for what the body can tolerate”.

Hattersley added: “Unless they address the fixture schedule then probably it will keep getting worse.

“There is often the Saturday-Tuesday schedule, if you look at the physiological recovery from games, it actually takes three to four days. So players aren’t fully recovered by that Tuesday. If you go through a prolonged, congested period, the risk of injuries goes up.”

How to follow Manchester City on the BBC bannerManchester City banner footer

This article was originally posted on https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/68797925