Most of Manchester City’s squad will have trained for just 20 minutes before Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final against Sheffield United, manager Pep Guardiola has revealed.
The city boss says his players are still feeling the effects of Wednesday’s grueling Champions League match at Bayern Munich and he hasn’t pushed them.
However, Guardiola, who must also take into account the fact that his team faces a crucial Premier League clash against Arsenal just four days later, insists that he has no problem with the intense schedule.
“It’s better if it’s 20 minutes,” he said. “It’s not training, it’s just being together. We are not going to do anything.
“We’re going to go outside, take a breather and go over a few things. Maybe the guys who didn’t play practice, but for the guys who did, it’s just about the game plan.
“There are some managers who say that you have to train. I prefer to keep energy as much as possible for the game.
“Fatigue management is here, in the mind. When you think you are incredibly exhausted (you are tired), when you have positive thoughts, you are not tired.
“We can’t complain. If you don’t want it, that’s fine, get out of competitions, you’ll have long weeks.
“If you want it, as we have shown that we want it, it is reality. Accept it and fight for it.
City have lost four of the five FA Cup semi-finals they have played under Guardiola, including the last three in a row.
Although City were successful and won the competition in 2019, Guardiola acknowledges that it has been a troublesome encounter.
“In the past, in the last three or four years, in the same situation, we weren’t there,” he said. “I would say maybe because we were very tired. It has been a difficult game for us.
“We have to be able to change our minds to say how important it is, to see the strength of the opponent.
“I want the team to be there, we need to be there. The FA Cup deserves it.”
Manchester United, who will play Brighton in Sunday’s semi-final, have tried to reduce pre-match travel by flying direct to London after their Europa League game in Seville on Thursday.
City did something similar before playing Liverpool after their Champions League match at Atletico Madrid last year, but opted not to repeat the approach after playing in Germany this week.
Guardiola said: “Last season we traveled directly from Madrid to London to stay at the hotel, so we didn’t go from here and back, but given the result, we would go home.
“We are young, we are well cared for, with nutritionists with many things, good rest. We have to be ready.”