PEP’S CITY STARS WORK TOO HARD
THE extent to which Manchester City’s squad want to impress manager Pep Guardiola became clear in the first week of pre-season. They are given regimes to follow in the week before training restarts by fitness coach Lorenzo Buenaventura and head of human performance Sam Erith. Whereas other Premier League clubs use gadgets to monitor how hard players have worked in the off-season, City’s programme is optional. Guardiola’s problem is not that players refuse to adhere to it, rather that they are doing too much work during the time off. A number of first-teamers felt miles, preferring to sandwich international matches with family holidays in Greece and Turkey. ‘I ran the first week after the national team and then I did nothing for three weeks,’ he said. ‘I just wanted to be away. I run a lot with the kids anyway so I burn a lot of energy, but I just wanted to be away from football. I felt it was necessary to just slow it down a bit and go again in pre-season.’ Meanwhile, Guardiola is hoping for a smoother tour in America next summer. Some members of his squad have complained of sleepless nights during the fortnight in Asia. City spent the previous two summers in the US and want to return in 2020.