Pep Guardiola vs Jurgen Klopp: Manchester City boss hits back at Liverpool manager over Covid break comments

Pep Guardiola plans to confront Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp on Sunday over his suggestion that Manchester City benefitted from a “two-week break” following an outbreak of Covid-19 at the club.

City’s Premier League trip to Everton on 28 December was postponed after a number of positive cases were identified within the playing squad’s bubble.

Guardiola’s players subsequently went a week without a game between their Boxing Day win over Newcastle and a 3-1 victory over Chelsea on 3 January, for which they were missing eight first-team players.

Klopp drew attention to this on Friday afternoon, ahead of City’s visit to Anfield on Sunday, erroneously claiming that City’s ‘break’ had been two weeks long.

“We haven’t had a break. I think City had a two-week break for Covid reasons,” he said. It’s really tough. It’s a tough season for many teams.”

When Klopp’s comments were put to Guardiola on Friday, he sarcastically replied: “He made a mistake, it was two months off, or three months off? No, [it was] four. Four months off. That’s why we are in top form right now.

“Jurgen has to see the calendar again. We had Covid, we have one week and we played with 14 players at Stamford Bridge, but maybe I’m wrong and it was not two weeks, it was three or four weeks.

Independent Football Newsletter

Get the latest football headlines direct to your inbox twice a week

Read our full mailing list consent terms here

Independent Football Newsletter

Get the latest football headlines direct to your inbox twice a week

Read our full mailing list consent terms here

“Tomorrow when I see Jurgen I’ll say to him: how many weeks or days were we off?”

“I’m surprised. I thought Jurgen was not that type of manager, like other ones who are usually doing it.

“I didn’t expect that comment. But maybe it was a misunderstanding from him. If he sees the calendar again he will realise it was not two weeks, it was two months.”

Guardiola said that he was not irritated by Klopp’s claim, but added: “He knows it’s not true, come on! Nobody in the Premier League has had two weeks off! Everyone knows it.

“Some of them with that kind of situation does it for purpose but I didn’t expect he would do it. I thought he’s not that type of guy, but if he did it, OK. Welcome. Maybe I was wrong.”

City were one of several clubs to start the Premier League season late due to competing in last season’s European competitions until mid-August.

While Liverpool enjoyed a 47-day break between the end of last season and the start of the new campaign, City’s was 36 days long due to their participation in the final stages of the Champions League.

Guardiola believes he effectively did not have a pre-season in which to prepare his players, and he suggested that Klopp and others overlook this disadvantage.

“We don’t forget but they did of course,” he said.

“It was a challenge, never thought it was easy in this world we cannot complain when people are suffering much more than us all around the world.

“People say it’s freezing in the game, yeah it’s freezing, it’s not freezing, freezing is when people are suffering. We are incredibly lucky and fortunate. When its happened it’s happened.

“When you have a lot of Covid cases in the beginning and injuries, when we had Covid before the Everton game, we said: it is what it is. We had 14 players we go there.

“It happened to us, Newcastle, Atletico Madrid, right now and in the past, it happened to all the clubs around the world ebcause everything happened.

“Don’t look back, and say what’s next, how many players we have and prepare the game and we do it and if we win, continue, if we lose, continue. It’s the only way I’ve done it thorugh my career.”

Source: Read Full Article