Pep Guardiola strikes back at Chelsea and Liverpool over Covid excuses

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Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has laughed off claims from rival teams that their lead at the top of the Premier League table is due to luck with injuries and Covid-19.

Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel, who will face Guardiola on Saturday, recently claimed that City have not struggled with the same impact of Covid-19 as the Blues, which helped them pull away from the top of the table.

These sentiments echoed a message from Liverpool midfielder Virgil van Dijk, who suggested that City’s limited Covid fall had helped them “enormously” in their quest to retain the title, but Guardiola had none.

“If they [Chelsea and Liverpool] think that’s the reason why then maybe, “Guardiola joked.” Sometimes it’s the money we have, sometimes it’s Covid. I do not know. Perhaps.”

He continued: “I say what I said before – the situation is all over the world. We had injuries, we had Covid. We may not say which players – out of respect [to those players] the club does not – but we had a lot of players and backroom staff with Covid and at the beginning of the season we had a lot of tough injuries with our players.

“So what can I say? If they think we were lucky, then we were lucky. Thank you. What can I say? The pandemic is all over the world and the virus is everywhere. We are exposed every minute and day to get it and we are no exceptions.”

Guardiola also expressed dissatisfaction with requesting that matches be postponed due to injuries. Arsenal want Sunday’s North London derby suspended due to a lack of players, despite recently loaning out Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Folarin Balogun and lining up with a U23 team on Friday night.

“We’re trying to play,” he said. “If we have 11 or 12 players, that’s enough, we play. We have Cole Palmer, James McAtee and other players we try to play. We have enough players.

“I do not know what counts. Is it just Covid or injuries? Injuries happen all the time so I do not know the rules of the Premier League when matches are canceled – for what reason. In many cases we only had 12 available first team players plus the goalkeeper and we played. ”

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