Pep Guardiola declares ‘very big problem’ ahead of second leg with Real Madrid


Manager Pep Guardiola of Manchester City FC gestures during the UEFA Champions League quarter-final first leg match between Real Madrid CF and Manchester City at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on April 09, 2024 in Madrid, Spain.

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has manifested his concern about the fitness of his side ahead of their second leg against Real Madrid in the Champions League. As the reigning champions face Luton Town on Saturday, the logic would suggest that City would rotate players, but they are locked in a fierce race for the Premier League tie.

Rodri Hernandez had admitted after the Real Madrid clash that he could do with a rest in the coming weeks, despite the lack of room for it in the schedule.

“Resting Rodri against Luton? Look at our games and you will realise it. It is very simple. He is very important because of the quality he gives us, but if a player does not want to play, he will not play,” Guardiola explained, regarding the Spanish star potentially resting.

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“I also have to give the centre-backs a rest, but in the England friendlies, John Stones and Kyle Walker were injured and have not been able to rest. We have a very big problem. I have the feeling that we have been very tired in the last few games. Tomorrow we will decide what we have to do.”

Guardiola will be hoping to have Kyle Walker, Nathan Ake, Kevin de Bruyne and Ederson all back in the side, which should aid him in his quest to freshen things up at least. Before the first leg, one of the major talking points was that City had played two games between Real Madrid’s last clash, nine days prior. 

Yet the statistics did not bear out the idea that Los Blancos were better rested, with City outrunning them comfortably at the Santiago Bernabeu. Real Madrid also play on Saturday against Real Mallorca, around three hours after City.

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