Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola says that he will use all five of his available substitutes in each of the remaining Premier League matches. The Spanish coach wants to give his side the best possible chance of success in the Champions League when the European tournament resumes.
City will be one of the first teams to restart the Premier League as they face Arsenal on Wednesday night. The Premier League was postponed exactly 14 weeks ago at the start of the coronavirus outbreak. From that moment England was in lockdown and all Premier League matches were delayed.
“The five players on the bench, five of them are going to play,” Guardiola explained to Sky Sports News. “I don’t know how many minutes but they are going to play for sure because it is the only way you can protect the players for this next month-and-a-half, two months. When we arrive in the last stages of the Champions League, the only way to avoid injuries to the players is to rotate them, all of them.”
To aid clubs in the Premier League, coaches are allowed to name nine players on the bench instead of seven and it will be possible to use five substitutions during the games. Guardiola emphasizes that fitness and recovery will be key and the Spaniard believes that the natural fitness of players like Phil Foden could be a key weapon.
“Not because he [Foden] is younger, it is because he is strong,” the City boss added. “For example him, [Raheem] Sterling, Bernardo [Silva], Riyad [Mahrez] and Kyle [Walker], these kind of players they take the physical condition quick because it is normal, and I think they have more opportunities to stay longer during the game.”