Pep Guardiola: Manchester City don't have many players for Manchester United cup tie

Pep Guardiola says Manchester City “don’t have many players” for Wednesday’s Carabao Cup semi-final against Manchester United due to Covid-19.

Guardiola was without six players for the Premier League game at Chelsea on Sunday and although his side ran out convincing 3-1 winners, the Spaniard fears City’s busy schedule will take its toll.

“We don’t have many players,” Guardiola told Sky Sports. “To play one, two games is okay but if sustained for a long time – and you can use just 14 or 15 players – it will be more difficult.

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“But like everyone in the world, we have to adjust in our lives and our profession as much as possible. We don’t have an alternative.

“The important thing is the guys who have Covid recover well and the others try to avoid it as much as possible.”


Despite his list of absentees, Guardiola knows City are not an exceptional case and says all managers are having to adapt to the situation, with the Premier League reporting a record 40 positive coronavirus tests in the latest week of testing.

“There are other clubs, like Newcastle, for example; every club is fighting about the dangers with Covid,” he said. “This situation is completely new.

“It looks like we are an island inside the society. It’s like everything is locked down except ourselves.

“When the people say football players are special, maybe it’s the truth. We didn’t believe it before; I always thought the doctors, teachers, architects, every person is the same. But it looks everything is closed but our business.

“They have to be careful what they do. Social distance, be careful and be lucky because even doing as best as possible, there are risks.”

Guardiola ‘not worried’ about De Bruyne contract talks

Meanwhile, Guardiola remains confident Kevin De Bruyne will sign a new contract with Manchester City.

A proposal for a new deal is on the table but with De Bruyne already committed to the club until 2023, neither side feel in a rush to agree the extension.

Asked if he was worried De Bruyne had not signed a new deal, Guardiola replied: “Absolutely not. I’m pretty sure he will stay but at the same time we have to respect the process.

“I don’t know what is going on because I didn’t speak with Txiki (Begiristain, City’s director of football) but he knows how we appreciate him, not just as a football player but as a person, how important he is for the club.

“I’m not worried but at the end it’s his decision. Hopefully it’s going to finish well.”

Manchester United
Manchester City

De Bruyne found himself in the “bizarre” situation of playing as a false nine in Manchester City’s win at Chelsea but Guardiola says he is short on attacking options.

“We don’t have strikers,” he said. “Gabriel (Jesus) and Ferran (Torres) have Covid, Raheem (Sterling) can play there but I prefer to play him wider instead of a central position.

“We don’t have much alternative. Sergio (Aguero) is still not completely fit. We found, of course, Bernardo (Silva) can play there but we decided to play Kevin.

“The next game, maybe another situation. We will see.”

Five subs allowed for remainder of Carabao Cup

Manchester City and the other three teams contesting the Carabao Cup semi-finals and final will be allowed to make five substitutions per game, the English Football League has confirmed.

Up until the last-four stage, regulations had been kept in line with the Premier League, with the substitution limit at three.

As was the case during the resumption of the 2019/20 Premier League season, coaches will be limited to three opportunities to use their five substitutions during the 90 minutes.

However, if a Carabao Cup match were to go into extra-time, one additional opportunity to use up the five changes would be permitted.

Tottenham host Championship side Brentford on Tuesday, before Manchester United take on Manchester City on Wednesday, with both games live on Sky Sports.

The Carabao Cup semi-finals have been reduced from two legs to one this season, with a more congested fixture schedule amid the coronavirus pandemic taken into account.

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