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“We are in big, big trouble” – Pep Guardiola responds to Rodri’s comments over needing rest from Manchester City action



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Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has responded to comments issued by Rodri after the 3-3 draw against Real Madrid, where the Spaniard revealed he requires a rest.

The mainstay defensive midfielder for the Premier League champions admitted after the enthralling contest at the Santiago Bernabeu that he is requiring a period of rest off the back of a 66-game unbeaten run under Pep Guardiola.

Such comments come ahead of a crunch period for the Treble winners in their attempts to repeat last season’s successes, with contests across the Champions League, Premier League and FA Cup in a 10-day period.

Should Manchester City progress past Real Madrid in the quarter-finals of the Champions League, with the second-leg of the tie coming up next week, then Pep Guardiola and his players will not have a free midweek for the remainder of the campaign.

Responding to comments made by Rodri over needing rest, Pep Guardiola said during his pre-Luton press conference, “I didn’t speak with him. If he needs rest, he will have rest… Or no. I don’t know.

“So, I have the feeling that the games he was tired like Crystal Palace and (Real) Madrid second-half was better than the first-half, and runs more, and was more precise in the second-half than the first. It depends on the team.

“But more the physicality, it’s a question of course to spend mental energy playing every three days, three days, of course he’s tired playing a lot of minutes, Rodri is so important for us. And we will decide tomorrow (Saturday) what we have to do.”

Despite Rodri’s importance to the Manchester City set-up, Pep Guardiola has insisted that should a player require a rest from action, then they will always be granted a rest and bring in a player to replace them.

“If a player doesn’t want to play, he’s not going to play. It’s simple. Another one is going to play. If he’s tired, or feels exhausted, it can happen. Another player is going to play,” Guardiola said.

When asked whether it is a case of managing minutes at this stage of the season, and once more whether Rodri will be granted a rest, Guardiola continued, “Yeah, but not just Rodri. I would love to have rested central defenders, but we don’t have. So for (international) friendly games, injuries, so we are in big, big trouble. So we cannot rest.”

Manchester City take on Luton in their game prior to the second-leg in the Champions League against Real Madrid, before the club will travel to Wembley just days later with Chelsea the opponents in the semi-final of the FA Cup.

Guardiola and his players have now also found out the scheduling of their away trip to face Tottenham in the Premier League, with the trip to North London pencilled in for the midweek of the final seven days of the season – their penultimate game of the top-flight campaign.