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City find the net five times but Pep says he can't find joy

Manchester City beat the Clarets 5-0 for the fourth time in succession at the Etihad Stadium but Guardiola said the joy is missing without spectators.

Pep Guardiola cannot find joy without fans at games.
Pep Guardiola cannot find joy without fans at games.
Image: Michael Regan

PEP GUARDIOLA ADMITTED some of the joy was missing after Manchester City thrashed Burnley 5-0 at an empty Etihad Stadium.

Riyad Mahrez scored a hat-trick as City took advantage of a visit from one their favourite whipping boys to rediscover their goalscoring touch in the Premier League.

It was City’s fourth successive 5-0 victory over the Clarets at home.

Yet with little respite in the schedule in a condensed season, and with supporters unable to attend, City boss Guardiola felt something was lacking.

“The problem today in games is the players lose the joy of playing football,” the Spaniard told the BBC.

“Before it was nice playing football, once or twice a week with spectators. Now it is like… in three days there is another one.”

Guardiola, however, allayed fears that record goalscorer Sergio Aguero might have suffered a setback in his recovery from a knee injury.

The Argentinian underwent surgery in the summer and his return to action has already been complicated by a hamstring injury.

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He was not involved against Burnley but Guardiola is hopeful the latest problem is not serious.

Guardiola said in his post-match press conference: “Sometimes it is just a reaction on the knee. With Sergio, it is how he wakes up. He makes good training sessions, but then has niggles in his knee.

“We know the injury he had is not easy for the recovery – we have to handle it as well as possible. When he is ready, he will play. Hopefully tomorrow he can come back to training.”

Guardiola was pleased to get back to winning ways in the Premier League after last week’s loss at Tottenham. City had won just three of their opening eight games and scored only 10 goals in a mixed start to the campaign.

He said: “It was important to come back with a victory in the Premier League. We play a lot of games so to play 90 minutes and maintain a good level is not easy, but there are always things to improve on.

“Of course, it helps us. It’s important for us to score goals and keep going.”

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