Pep Guardiola admits he is powerless to stop a crazy fixture pile-up if Manchester City continue their pursuit of trophies on four fronts.
City will play their 35th game of the season at Huddersfield today and could end up being involved in 67 matches as they chase the Premier League, Champions League, FA Cup and Carabao Cup.
Similar congestion sent former City boss Manuel Pellegrini into meltdown three years ago and he effectively conceded an FA Cup fifth round tie at Chelsea by giving five teenagers first starts in a 5-1 defeat.
Guardiola is aware that a new date against Everton will have to be squeezed into an already crowded schedule because City are set to be in the Carabao Cup Final at Wembley on February 24.
Further complications will arise if they need a replay in their FA Cup fourth round tie against Burnley. The Manchester derby on March 16 will also have to be rescheduled if either City or United reach the cup quarter-finals and the worst-case scenario is City having to play 32 games in 16 weeks — which includes time off needed for international breaks.
‘Of course I am concerned but what can we do?’ said Guardiola. ‘We are scheduled for a game against Everton between Chelsea and Arsenal (on February 6 or 7) because of the Carabao Cup and other games if we go through in the cups.
‘We will see what the league decides. I really don’t know if it gives Liverpool an advantage. Perhaps if you play every few days then everyone is in rhythm, everyone is focussed. Sometimes if you have a week or 10 days off, the rhythm might be wrong.’
Under the current rules, any red cards City players get in FA Cup and Carabao Cup ties count towards suspensions in Premier League games, but yellow cards only count in the competition in which they were received.
Guardiola said: ‘When we go out, it will be because the other side are better. We are not going to drop any competition.
‘When we lost to Wigan in the 2018 FA Cup, it allowed us to go to Abu Dhabi for four or five days but we are not going to organise our schedule to go to Abu Dhabi this time.’Daily Mail