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'It's not normal to play the 31st and two days later' - Pep hits out after latest injury

Defender Kyle Walker limped through the final minutes of Man City’s win against Watford last night.

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola.
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola.

MANCHESTER CITY MANAGER Pep Guardiola expressed his concern that the Premier League’s packed schedule could “kill players” as Kyle Walker became the latest player in the treatment room for the leaders.

Pep’s men bounced back in typical fashion last night after dropping points at Crystal Palace, beating Watford 3-1 in a dominant performance.

City now lie 15 points clear at the summit, although Chelsea can move within 14 with victory over Arsenal tonight. But a “little problem” picked up by Walker meant the win was bittersweet for the manager.

“We are going to check [the injury] out, he might have a little problem,” he told reporters when asked about Walker, who limped through the last few minutes at the Etihad Stadium with a possible groin injury.

“Everyone saw in the last weeks how many injuries the players have. We are going to kill [the players]. The bosses at the federation have to reflect. It’s not normal to play the 31st and two days later.

“I know the show must go on, [but] they have to control it. They don’t protect the players, the people 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 the [games] out. I’m not saying change Boxing Day, the great tradition, but you cannot play at Selhurst Park, hope to celebrate New Year’s Eve but are thinking about the game two days later. People say it’s impossible, it’s not basketball or tennis, the players need recovery. Just see how many players have muscular injuries.

“The show must go on, we have a lot of people here to take care of them but the schedule does not protect the players.”

City currently have Benjamin Mendy and Gabriel Jesus on the sidelines, both with knee ligament injuries, while Kevin De Bruyne played last night despite limping off the field against Palace after a horror tackle from Jason Puncheon.

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