Man City boss hits out at Chelsea manager over Covid-19 claims

Man City boss hits out at Chelsea manager over Covid-19 claims
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Pep Guardiola has has rejected Thomas Tuchel’s claim that Manchester City have not suffered as badly as Chelsea with Covid-19 cases in recent weeks.

Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel had claimed City’s phenomenal form isn’t the reason they have pulled away from their competitors in the title race – instead claiming that injuries and COVID-19 problems at Stamford Bridge are the issue.

“They did not suffer from Covid as we did over many weeks, so this is a huge difference,” said the German ahead of Saturday’s clash between the two clubs at the Etihad Stadium.

His remarks come after Liverpool defender Virgil Van Dijk suggested City may have had more luck than the Merseysiders throughout the recent wave of Omicron-inflated infections, despite the Blues having 21 club staff test positive ahead last week’s FA Cup encounter against Swindon Town.

But speaking on Friday, before the Premier League clash between City and Chelsea, Guardiola accepts they have a right to an opinion but thinks his players – and not for the first time – are not being given the credit they deserve after battling through a tough period.

The Spaniard said: “If they believe it’s the reason why then maybe, maybe. Sometimes it’s the money that we have, sometimes it’s Covid. I don’t know. What can I say?

“But the pandemic is all around the world and everywhere there is the virus. We are exposed every single minute and day to getting it. We have had a lot of cases and injuries. We played Aston Villa with 11 players in the first team.

“For the last six or seven games we’ve had four or five Academy players on the bench. We are in the same situation as all other clubs. It’s not like we are not wiser than others, or because we do the protocols better than the other ones, the virus comes to the bubble and everyone suffers, so we are no exception.

“Today we are OK but in a few hours we might have four or five positives. That is why we have to adapt, adjust, and work out what we have to do. The rest, the points we’ve got so far is down to the quality of the players, this is the main reason why.”

City haven’t had a single league fixture called off this season, one of only two sides to have played all 21 games so far, with Guardiola saying his team will always try to play even if they have ‘11 or 12 players’.

“We had 13 or 14 players in the last game in the FA Cup. We had 11 at Aston Villa, plus a keeper. We played and didn’t postpone it for the Premier League position.

“For the other clubs, I don’t know what is the situation. If we a have 11 or 12 players we try to play.”

“We have Cole Palmer, James McAtee and other players we try to play. We have enough players. I don’t know what counts. Is it just Covid or injuries? Injuries happen all the time so I don’t know the rules of the Premier League when it’s called off or cancelled.

“In many cases we’ve had just 12 first team players available plus the keeper and we played.”

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