Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has lashed out at the fixture schedule after Kevin de Bruyne returned from international duty injured.
The Belgian playmaker will miss Saturday’s clash with Arsenal due to a muscular problem he picked up during the 2-1 defeat to England at Wembley in the Nations League on Sunday.
And Guardiola, who insists that the setback is only minimal, claims that De Bruyne has reached the end of his tether due to the constant demands for club and country, as well as a lack of pre-season.
“I think it’s not big, I don’t know how long, but it’s a few days and I don’t know how many games he’ll be out,” said Guardiola.
“No pre-season, eight days off, eight days holidays, the family with a newborn, his wife was pregnant, so he has to be at home.
“He cannot go on holidays, so rest, trained here and played really good as always, but at the end the boy has a limit and he gets injured.”
Guardiola also opened up on how he sees the Premier League title race playing out after some shock results so far for City, Liverpool and Chelsea.
“Three years ago it was just one in the title race, it was us,” he went on. “Then it was just Liverpool and us, then last year just Liverpool so, yeah, we’ll see.
“We came back after the pandemic and it was hard to finish the Premier League season, the Champions League and now it’s 11 months in this situation.
“I don’t know what impact this situation - without spectators – will have. For a short time it’s nice, for a long time it’s different.
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“I don’t know if this is the reason why the influence of these results, but maybe a little part of this must be.
“I don’t know if it will change the way they approach the games, but for a short time you can do it, but over 11 months - I don’t know what's going to happen.
“Maybe there’ll be more contenders, if no long unbeaten runs with teams winning 16, 17 or 18 games in a row, like it was before in the Premier League
“Everyone can beat everyone, which is not what happened in the last three seasons.”