Klopp backs Guardi­ola over ‘crime’ of sched­ule

Manchester Evening News - - SPORT - By STU­ART BREN­NAN

PEP Guardi­ola has found an un­usual ally in his com­plaints about City’s tough Christ­mas sched­ule.

The Blues boss has been strongly crit­i­cal of the way his team has been forced to play twice in 48 hours, fol­low­ing tonight’s trip to Wolves with a home clash with Sh­effield United on Sun­day.

The club has writ­ten to the Premier League to protest, and Guardi­ola sar­cas­ti­cally joked that his play­ers would have to be placed in the ‘fridge’ to pre­serve them.

Now Liver­pool man­ager Jur­gen Klopp, whose team gets an ex­tra day of rest af­ter fac­ing Le­ices­ter last night, has backed Guardi­ola, say­ing it is a ‘crime’ City are play­ing at a dis­ad­van­tage.

“It is ab­so­lutely not OK,” he said. “None of the man­agers have a prob­lem play­ing on Box­ing Day, but play­ing on the 26th and 28th is a crime.

“This year we play 26th and 29th and it is like a hol­i­day. I un­der­stand all those say­ing it should not hap­pen.

“They are not moan­ing. They are telling.

“It is not for the spec­ta­cle. It would not be a prob­lem to play 26th and 29th with more teams. There is no rea­son why more teams do not get more than 48 hours be­tween a Premier League game.

“Ob­vi­ously, we can say what we want but no one is lis­ten­ing. Sports science gives you noth­ing to deal with this.

“The body needs a spe­cific amount of time to go again. But we ig­nore that com­pletely. I un­der­stand each man­ager who men­tions it.”

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