December 23, 2019 / 3:53 AM / a month ago

Guardiola takes dig at Premier League, says 'thank you' for busy festive season

Soccer Football - Premier League - Manchester City v Leicester City - Etihad Stadium, Manchester, Britain - December 21, 2019 Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola celebrates after Riyad Mahrez scores their first goal Action Images via Reuters/Carl Recine

(Reuters) - Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has written to the Premier League to “thank” them for a demanding schedule over the festive period with two matches in less than 48 hours.

Champions City, who trail league leaders Liverpool by 11 points, visit Nuno Espirito Santo’s Wolverhampton Wanderers on Friday before hosting Sheffield United on Sunday and Guardiola said it left his players with little recovery time.

“I wrote to the Premier League to say thank you and we’re going to the fridge after Wolves to get ready for Sheffield United,” a sarcastic Guardiola, whose side defeated second-placed Leicester City 3-1 on Saturday, told reporters.

“Tomorrow (Sunday) is a day off, we’re training on the 23rd and 24th. The night of the 24th is off, the morning of the 25th off. Then 26th training and then 27th is Nuno’s team.”

Guardiola said it was “unrealistic” for his team to retain their league title from their current position, but added that they would not stop chasing unbeaten Liverpool.

City have 38 points from 18 games having played one match more than Juergen Klopp’s side, who won the Club World Cup in Doha on Saturday.

“When a team has 16 (league) victories from 17, it’s unrealistic to think we’re going to chase them,” he added.

“It’s unrealistic right now. We have to try to win our games, secure Champions League for next season and then you never know.”

Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Himani Sarkar

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