Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola criticized fixture congestion yet again on Tuesday, and likened its impact on player development to making a meal in a microwave.
Guardiola has already spent much of this season complaining about his side's schedule, and again pointed towards the fixture list as they head into tomorrow's Champions League encounter at RB Leipzig (catch all the action on Paramount+). The European matchup will be City's third away game in a week, and the team lost the previous two.
"We don't have time to analyze, we don't have time to refresh ourselves, what we are doing well or bad or whatever," Guardiola said, per Sky Sports. "It's more difficult. Now, honestly, I'm not a manager but a trainer, I would say. I don't have trainings on the pitch with all the team to improve."
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The manager also argued that the lack of training time has slowed down the development of new players like Mateo Kovacic and Jeremy Doku.
"We give them time to understand what we want to do, we give them process," he added. "Good food needs time to be cooked. We need time, half an hour, one hour. You put in microwave, it's not the same. Now, everything is so quick. You want to have results immediately. Well, we don't have time for the players to settle good to understand things immediately, which is difficult because the [demands] are higher."
Guardiola feels this complaint is shared amongst his counterparts across Europe, and suggested that collective action from players is the only way to improve scheduling.
"What did I say the other day? Only the players can stop it," he said. "Only the players."
Fixture congestion was not the only topic that drew Guardiola's ire on Tuesday. He was asked about the bizarre refereeing miscommunication that meant one of Liverpool's goals was wrongfully disallowed on Saturday, and suggested that officials are taking too much of the spotlight during matches.
"They will have to find [a way] for the main role to be played by the players and the game itself, in all the countries not just here," Guaridola said, according to The Athletic. "The referees and VAR are the leading roles. 'And the Oscar goes to…' They have to make a step back. It's the players, and sometimes there are games where sometimes just being more humble and doing what they have to do, they will do it better. They will do it better."