Manchester City hit by travel headache ahead of hectic fortnight
City are unable to travel back from Newcastle on Wednesday by train or plane.
Pep Guardiola has revealed Manchester City are affected by travel problems during one of their most hectic periods of the season.
City have four away games in less than a fortnight, with Wednesday night’s Carabao Cup trip to Newcastle followed by a Premier League clash with Wolves, a Champions League outing to Leipzig and then another league game against Arsenal.
Guardiola’s men would normally travel back by train or plane to minimise time on the road but neither is available on Wednesday.
“We cannot come back by plane because we don’t have planes to travel back so we have to take a bus, it’s two, three hours later, we arrive here so, so late,” said the Catalan.
“Then Friday we have to travel to Wolves. We go to Germany to play Champions League, it’s a really, really important game for us because we know what it means to be able to win there for qualification for the next stage. This is what we have to do.”
Guardiola admits he will have to play several players he would rather rest because of injury and suspension issues in midfield, while he does not feel he can call on academy products.
“We cannot take a few of them because we sell a lot of them and still they are not ready to play with us,” he said. “That’s why I have to give time to them to develop. They are still so young to play Newcastle away.”
One player who will start is Kalvin Phillips, who impressed Guardiola after coming on against Nottingham Forest last weekend.
It will be just a fifth start for the midfielder since his move from Leeds last summer, where his performances under Marcelo Bielsa persuaded City to sign him.
“I think Marcelo gave Kalvin the best of Kalvin in his career,” said Guardiola. “I would love to have done with Kalvin what Marcelo has done to him. But it’s where he is.
“We have a specific way to play. Sometimes he struggles with a few things, but the previous game was perfect. He’s open-minded, he always wants to learn, always wants to help and this is what I try to do.”
Guardiola named “exhausted” Kyle Walker as one player he will rest but, whatever team he puts out, he expects a better performance than the one that saw City dumped out of the competition by Southampton in the quarter-finals last season.
“What we don’t want to do is perform not who we are in terms of the principles and who we are as a team, which happened last season against Southampton,” he said.
“That’s the worst game I’ve had as manager of Man City, by far. I didn’t recognise anything about that. You can lose, of course, credit to Southampton in that game, but you have to meet a minimum and this is what I want from my team in every single game, every single competition.
“And tomorrow it’s going to happen, I’m pretty sure of that.”