MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Tuesday, May 16, 2023: Manchester City's manager Josep 'Pep' Guardiola during a press conference at the Etihad Campus ahead of the UEFA Champions League Semi-Final 2nd Leg game between Manchester City FC and Real Madrid CF. (Pic by Jessica Hornby/Propaganda)

Pep Guardiola claims Man City are in “big, big trouble” with injuries

With Man City midfielder Rodri admitting he “needs a rest” during a relentless run-in, Pep Guardiola has claimed his side are in “big, big trouble” fitness-wise.

“I do need a rest,” were Rodri’s words earlier in the week, with the Spaniard having played more football than all but one of his team-mates this season.

But with Man City in the throes of a title battle with Liverpool and Arsenal, Guardiola can ill afford to omit his key players in any of their remaining fixtures.

The manager, who has already begun the mind games with Jurgen Klopp and Mikel Arteta, told reporters on Friday that his squad is in “big, big trouble.”

“If a player doesn’t want to play, he’s not going to play. It’s simple. Another one is going to play,” Guardiola said ahead of Man City‘s clash with Luton.

“If he’s tired, or feels exhausted, it can happen. Another player is going to play.”

Guardiola added: “Not just Rodri. I would love to have rested central defenders, but we don’t have [cover].

“So for [international] friendly games, injuries, so we are in big, big trouble. So we cannot rest.”

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Tuesday, November 7, 2023: Manchester City's Phil Foden during the UEFA Champions League Group G match between Manchester City FC and BSC Young Boys at the City of Manchester Stadium. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Phil Foden (knock) and John Stones (muscle) are new doubts for Man City ahead of the weekend, though rival supporters will be wary at this stage of taking Guardiola’s words at face value.

Kyle Walker (hamstring) and Nathan Ake (calf) are their only other injuries, with Kevin De Bruyne expected back after missing the 3-3 draw with Real Madrid in midweek through illness.

That leaves few confirmed issues, then, with Guardiola’s comments seemingly referring more to the risk of fatigue than absences.

Still, the likelihood is that Man City will find a way to navigate their supposed ailments and batter Luton on Saturday.

Man City are currently third, a point behind Arsenal and Liverpool, who are themselves separating only by goal difference.