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'Maybe one winger has to play as a defender!' - Guardiola jokes on Man City injury crisis

3:46 AM IST 23/04/22
Pep Guardiola Manchester City Atletico Madrid 2021-22
With injuries, fitness issues and bans piling up around the rearguard for the Citizens, their boss has quipped that he may have to get creative

Pep Guardiola joked that he may have to field one of his wingers in central defence as Manchester City continue to contend with a major injury crisis at the back ahead of this weekend's Premier League game against Watford.

The champions remain at the summit of the top-flight, and know that their title destiny is in their own hands as they prepare to face the Hornets, with Liverpool breathing down their neck.

But a raft of injuries to key men such as Kyle Walker, John Stones and Nathan Ake has left them without several faces at the back ahead of both this weekend's test and next week's Champions League semi-final first leg against Real Madrid - and Guardiola has now quipped that he may have to get creative in his coverage.

What has Guardiola said about injury crisis?

"Right now, we are definitely in trouble," Guardiola spoke when addressing his side's injury crisis. "We have problems in many important positions and you have to adapt.

"The players know we are in trouble — maybe one winger has to play as a central defender!

"[But a larger squad?] I don't like it. I'm sad to leave four or five on the bench who don't play — I don't want it to be eight or nine."

Guardiola hails virtues of rest schedule

Though City are now out of FA Cup contention, the club will still hope to go all the way in Europe alongside the Premier League, packing their tight schedule with even more matches - and Guardiola has spoken of how crucial it is for his team to take their moments to breathe when they can.

"It's better to recover and be fresh in your mind," he added. "The sessions are exercises in socialising with laughter and positive energy. Practising can only be for five or 10 minutes — we've lost players and cannot lose more.

"Today is the second day after Brighton and the Premier League don't know that the second day is when they are more tired. It's just relax and tomorrow we'll be ready."

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