Guardiola hits back at Everton for demands after postponed game

Pep Guardiola hits back at Everton after they demanded to know why their clash with Manchester City was postponed after Citizens’ Covid outbreak as Spaniard insists ‘we wanted to play but it was a huge risk’

  • Manchester City’s clash with Everton was postponed due to Covid-19 positives
  • But they have been given the green light to take on Chelsea this Sunday  
  • Pep Guardiola wanted Everton game to go ahead rather than be postponed
  • He pointedly differentiated statements made by Everton and their manager

An impassioned Pep Guardiola insisted that Manchester City wanted to face Everton on Monday and praised Carlo Ancelotti for his message of goodwill.

City’s trip to Goodison Park was postponed hours before kick-off after the club’s positive coronavirus rose to seven.

That provoked criticism from the Toffees, who demanded full disclosure from the Premier League around the decision-making process. Guardiola pointedly differentiated statements made by Everton and their manager, whom sent his best wishes to City on the club’s website.

Pep Guardiola insists Manchester City wanted to play against Everton but it was a huge risk

Carlo Ancelotti spoke to Guardiola over the phone about the postponement of the game

‘I prefer the statement from Carlo Ancelotti than the one from the club,’ Guardiola said. ‘We had enough players to play against Everton. We wanted to play. But the day of the game we released three more cases.

‘The virus was inside. We informed the Premier League. I called Carlo Ancelotti to informed him about the situation. What happened if the Everton players were infected from us? It was a huge risk. Take care for the welfare of the players and staff, seven people in this club who are together every single day. There are clubs making statements complaining about this.’

Kyle Walker and Gabriel Jesus were confirmed as having tested positive, but Guardiola revealed the Premier League asked City not to state the names of the three additional cases on Monday.

City returned to training on Wednesday after no new positive cases arose, with another round of results expected later on Friday before their game at Chelsea.

‘People are dying all around the world,’ Guardiola added. ‘In the UK it’s been over 900 for over two days. The problem is still here. But now we’ve disinfected, the whole centre, and hopefully the next tests are all negative and those who are isolated all come back.

‘We are going to go to Goodison when James (Rodriguez), (Lucas) Dinge and Richarlison can play. We would have loved to play that game but the Premier League decided wisely for the welfare of everyone, that in two or three days, there are seven people who are positive.

‘Just look at Newcastle, I spoke with Steve (Bruce) and he told me how difficult it was. More than 20 people infected there, it can happen here, or any club, Fulham or anywhere around the world.

‘You look at the news and it’s everywhere. Germany had it under control but now 1000 deaths in one day. We are delighted to play games and do our job but at the same time we cannot ignore the reality that the virus is here.

Guardiola is looking forward to taking Raheem Sterling and Co to Stamford Bridge 

‘I’m sorry the most important thing is the welfare of the people – they are human beings. This is not a joke. You can be positive and nothing or you can be positive and be in trouble. Everyone is involved and you have to be careful. We told them to stay at home, be careful, don’t contact other people.’

City are already facing a fixture pile-up and are set to play nine games in 28 days. The scheduling has been a bone of contention for Guardiola since his appointment in 2016.

‘Since the beginning we spoke about this, I have no more comments,’ he said. ‘Don’t think too much, we’ll play every game with the players we have, we’ll do the best we can.

‘But we don’t start to think it’s not good for the players, they love to do this, we are part of the game but I’m not going to start saying now it’s difficult for the players. We’ve known it for 10 or 20 years.’ 

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