Guardiola slams hectic EPL schedule, warns it could ‘kill players’

Pep Guardiola claimed the fixture pile-up over the holiday season could "kill" players after Manchester City wrapped up their fourth game in 11 days with a 3-1 win over Watford yesterday morning (Singapore time).

Guardiola's side moved 15 points clear at the top of the Premier League as they bounced back from the end of their 18-game winning streak in a draw at Crystal Palace just 48 hours earlier.

Goals from Raheem Sterling and Sergio Aguero sandwiched Christian Kabasele's own goal at Eastlands.

But City boss Guardiola was not in the mood to celebrate as the Spaniard complained about the gruelling nature of the fixture schedule for English teams, who are asked to play a host of games in quick succession from late December until the new year.

That packed programme is a stark contrast to most of the other top Europe leagues, who all have winter breaks.

"We made five changes from the last game but it's not our fault," he said.

"I know here in England the show must go on, but that's not normal, guys. The big bosses should reflect that.

"We're going to kill the players. The federations don't think about the players but they have to.

"They play 11 months in a row. They have to protect them and play with quality and not quantity. We have to think about the artists. But I know it won't happen."

Guardiola's frustration had been stoked by a knee ligament injury suffered by Brazilian Gabriel Jesus against Palace that could rule the City striker out for up to six weeks. - AFP