October 24, 2021

Pep: I’ll rotate to keep quadruple hopes alive

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Pep Guardiola will keep rotating because his Man City players are ‘not machines’.

Guardiola hit out at UEFA and FIFA as he launched a passionate defence of his rotation policy.

The Etihad manager insists he needs to keep changing his side to ensure they avoid burnout and can battle for the quadruple.

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Man City’s win against Leicester City

The City boss kept John Stones, Ilkay Gundogan and Joao Cancelo on the bench while Raheem Sterling played less than 30 minutes and Phil Foden made a two-minute cameo in Saturday’s 2-0 win at Leicester.

Guardiola made six changes at the King Power Stadium as the Premier League leaders moved closer to regaining the title – thanks to goals from Benjamin Mendy and Gabriel Jesus – and insisted he is forced to keep rotating.

“They are human beings, they are not machines,” said Guardiola.

“I know the players some of them are upset all the time because they want to play every day but this is not possible.

“To compete in all competitions in this year without spectators, in the shortest competition ever, (if) you don’t rotate you don’t compete in all competitions and you will not be in the position we are in now.

“Of course they could play, they have an incredible mentality but they need rest. UEFA and FIFA killed the players because it’s too much. We haven’t had one midweek off since we started, not even one.

“There is no player who can sustain (this), not just physically but mentally to be ready every day to compete against opponents to win the game. It’s impossible.

“I rotate I’m a genius, ‘well done Pep’ but when we lose and I rotate people say ‘why rotate? You have to play the players like normal’. But it’s unsustainable.

“The next game we are going to play fresh legs and against Leeds, more than ever, fresh legs.”

City host Borussia Dortmund in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final on Tuesday before welcoming Leeds to the Etihad on Saturday.