Pep: Fixture list will ‘kill’ players

English Premier League

The Citizens have paid the price for a congested run of fixtures, with Kyle Walker picking up a thigh injury during Tuesday’s 3-1 win over Watford, which came just 48 hours after the goalless draw against Crystal Palace on New Year’s Day.

And Guardiola feels that injury is evidence that the current English schedule is too demanding, saying: “He [Walker] might have a little problem – what everyone saw in the last weeks is how many injuries the players have.

“We are going to kill them. The bosses have to reflect. It’s not normal to play 31st and two days later.

“I know the show must go on but that is not normal, they have to control it. They don’t protect the players, they are the people we come to watch – not the managers or the press conferences. Here in England you don’t protect the players, you have to look for the quality not the quantity.

“Of course space them [the matches]out. I’m not saying change Boxing Day [games]. But you cannot play at 12 at Selhurst Park but are thinking about the game two days later. It’s not basketball or tennis – the players need recovery.

“Just see how many muscular injuries there are. We have a lot of people here [at City]to take care of them, but the schedule does not protect the player. I think the schedule will always happen because of the tradition but think about the players – they are artists.”