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‘Sometimes money, sometimes Covid’ – Guardiola hits back at Tuchel and Van Dijk

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‘Sometimes money, sometimes Covid’ – Guardiola hits back at Tuchel and Van Dijk

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Pep Guardiola has responded to claims by his title rivals that Manchester City are lucky with their number of COVID-19 cases.

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel and Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk have both commented in recent days on the reigning Premier League champion’s relative “luck”.

When those thoughts were put to Guardiola at a press conference on Friday ahead of a clash with Chelsea, the Catalan manager said: “We’ve had injuries, we’ve had COVID.

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“Maybe we didn’t say which ones, how many. [Some of] the players wanted respect, so the club decided against it.

“We had a lot of players with COVID. Lots of people, backstage staff, with COVID. And in the biggest season we had a lot of incredibly tough injuries for our players.

“So what can I say? They think we got lucky? Well, we were lucky!

” What can I say ? The pandemic is all over the world, everywhere. We are exposed, every day, every minute. We are no exception.

“If they believe that’s the reason why [City have pulled clear in the title race], then maybe. May be.

“Sometimes it’s the money we have, sometimes it’s COVID. So I don’t know, maybe.

Guardiola on Premier League postponement rules

City have been in blistering form, winning their last 11 Premier League games to climb to the top of the table. Indeed, Guardiola’s men are now 10 points ahead of Chelsea.

Meanwhile, the Premier League has been rocked by a COVID-19 crisis, with mass criticism over the lack of clarity on how many absentees it takes for a postponement.

Guardiola isn’t clearer than anyone on the rules, but he’s not in the business of asking for games to be canceled: “We had 13 players in the first team for the last game, in the FA Cup.

“The previous one, we had 11. At Aston Villa, 11 players.

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“This decision is for the Premier League, not for us. For other clubs, I don’t know the situation.

“We try to play. We have 11 or 12 players? That’s enough, let’s play. We have Cole Palmer, we have [James] McAtee. We try to play.

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“We never ask [for the games to be postponed]. I don’t know what matters – if it’s just COVID or injuries.

“But injuries happen all the time, so I don’t know the standards or the Premier League rule, when it’s cancelled. In many cases we only had 12 players available and we played.

Pep returns against Chelsea

Guardiola himself missed the FA Cup 3rd round win over Swindon last weekend as he tested positive for the virus.

Revealing the number of training sessions he has had since, he was in a jovial mood: “One. This is good news for gamers! We will play very well tomorrow, you will see.

“The plan was made. We were in contact via Zoom. We have known each other for six years. With just eye contact, we know exactly what we need to do.

“So no problem. Of course the players did well on Sunday. I came back as manager, but if I’m not here I don’t play, so ultimately it’s not important.

‘Sometimes money, sometimes Covid’ – Guardiola hits back at Tuchel and Van Dijk

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