Pep Guardiola says managers can only pray that players don’t get injured because there is too much football packed into the calendar.

City were rocked by an injury to midfield lynchpin Fernandinho against Porto in midweek, and Guardiola believes the clubs that don’t play in Europe have a”huge advantage” in this regard.

“I love football, I love to play football, I love watching it on television – I love everything, but it’s too much,” Guardiola said.

“I know the business but it’s too much for the players. The players don’t have a rest mentally or physically.

“This is going to happen because they are not consulting with anyone. There are 365 days and you have to put all the competitions and all the games in, and especially right now with what happened last season with Covid-19, it’s reduced the calendar so it’s more difficult – but it’s too much.

“It’s too much for everyone, at least for the teams who play in Europe – for the other ones maybe it’s less.

“You finish the season and you start another one, you finish the season and you start another one. I would love to play a lot of games, to play during eight, nine or 10 months an incredible amount of games is okay, but you have to take a break for one or two months and make a good preparation to protect the players.”

Players will have to wait for an extended break with an international summer including the European Championship and Copa America scheduled to follow the 2020-21 season.

“To have a pre-season like it was before of five or six weeks that can relax minds and players can enjoy their own lives, but now you have 10 or 15 days you have to start again,” Guardiola added.

“You go to the pre-season and you have to win the pre-season, you have the Community Shield, you have the first games and that’s why the players get injured, so it’s normal.

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