According to Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola, the players who returned from international duty at the World Cup may be in better physical condition than those who did not participate in the tournament.
Manchester City, the reigning Premier League champions, will face off against their long-time rivals Liverpool in the fourth round of the Carabao Cup.
This will be the first time Manchester City has played a competitive match since early November. It is not uncommon for professional soccer players to experience fatigue and physical strains from participating in international tournaments, such as the World Cup.
It will be up to the coaching staff and medical team to properly assess and manage the fitness and conditioning of all the players, regardless of whether they participated in the World Cup.
Pep Guardiola’s Speculation
During the World Cup, Manchester City had more players participate and accumulate playing time compared to the other top six teams in the league. A total of 16 Manchester City players traveled to Qatar for the tournament, with Julian Alvarez playing the entire duration and ultimately winning the competition.
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Ahead of Manchester City’s League Cup match against Liverpool, Pep Guardiola stated that he believed the players who participated in the World Cup might be in better physical condition than those who did not.
He mentioned that Sergio Gomez, Erling Haaland, Riyad Mahrez, and Cole Palmer had missed some training. In contrast, Manu Akanji, Rodri, and Aymeric Laporte, who all returned from the World Cup, have been able to train consistently.
Erling Haaland, a forward for Manchester City, did not participate in the World Cup. He has scored 18 goals in 13 league appearances this season and is expected by some to maintain this scoring level in the second half of the season, as he has had more than a month to rest.
Assessing Haaland’s Performance
Recent comments by Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola suggest he is still determining Haaland’s ability to maintain this level of performance.
Whether or not Guardiola’s comments will lead to any concrete action from Manchester City remains to be seen, but it is certainly an interesting development in the ongoing saga of Haaland’s future.
However, Guardiola has remained coy on the situation, refusing to be drawn on any potential move for the Norwegian star.
Only Time will tell if Guardiola’s worries are justified or not.