Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has revealed his side picked up 71 injuries after double-headers against Atletico Madrid and Liverpool.
City were up against Atleti in a two-legged Champions League before a Premier League showdown against Liverpool followed by a FA Cup semi. Ahead of the Premier League fixture with Brighton, Guardiola said his squad have been stretched to the limits thanks to the intense schedule.
"I like to work with a big squad, in my experience, I’ve lived it many years in my life as I’ve been in top clubs, we arrive here fighting many times. If you want to fight you have to be fit," he said.
"10 days [we played], Atletico, Liverpool, Atleti, Liverpool for many players after an international break. 25 or 27 players, I don’t like it. I prefer 16, 17, 18 all fit, otherwise, it’s difficult to handle it. I live that, in previous seasons, we fought and we won and we were there, at the end of the season the desire is there, we were close.
"If it’s not a specific game, it’s the next one and the next one, you might not have five or four days, you have three, with travel. Our physios made 71 treatments between Atleti and the semi-final. 71, it's true. When they come and say Kyle [Walker] is ready but didn’t play many minutes, you can handle it that’s why it was more difficult, but you tell me how you compete."
On high amount of treatments
"I don’t know but I didn’t ask, they told me as it was more than usual, it was the hotel from the night after the game, it was a lot."
"That’s why they told me. I didn’t ask them what it is normally. Before Liverpool and Atletico it was so demanding, the players give everything, took a plane to Madrid, training. The schedule is what it is."
"We didn’t have time to train, to prepare a second semi-final with Liverpool. Just videos, and images but they have to feel it on the pitch. We had six massage tables watching the training session. We did not go home after Madrid.
"The people don’t believe the decisions you have to take."