Tuesday 22 October 2019

Pep Guardiola’s Monday blues has nothing to do with Wigan

Guardiola’s men were beaten by the League One Latics in the FA Cup in February.

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola is not a fan of Monday fixtures
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola is not a fan of Monday fixtures

By Andy Hampson, Press Association Sport

Pep Guardiola does not like playing games on Mondays – but insists that has nothing to do with Manchester City’s recent loss at Wigan.

City suffered a shock defeat to the League One side when they last played on a Monday in the FA Cup last month.

On a controversial night that ended City’s quadruple bid, the Premier League leaders had Fabian Delph sent off, Guardiola rowed with Wigan manager Paul Cook and Sergio Aguero was confronted by a fan amid crowd disturbances.

City are now preparing for another Monday fixture as they travel to Stoke looking to take another stride towards the title.

“I have bad experiences playing games on Mondays,” said City boss Guardiola. “I prefer to play weekends, when all the teams play.”

Asked if that was because the 1-0 loss to Wigan was still on his mind, the City boss said: “No, Barcelona.

“Sometimes in Barcelona, I remember when we played on Monday – a long time ago – always it was not good.

Why Mondays? Pep Guardiola prefers playing games at the weekend

“At Wigan we lost because we played for 55 minutes with 10 against 11, and we weren’t precise enough to score a goal.

“I reviewed the game and we did quite well, well enough to go through. But playing in that competition with 10 against 11 for 55 minutes, like playing in the Champions League, you are always at risk.”

City’s only other experience of Monday night football this season saw them held 1-1 by Everton in August, a game in which they had another player dismissed, Kyle Walker.

Prior to that, however, Guardiola teams actually have good records on Mondays. Last season City won all three of their Monday fixtures, although two of them were on public holidays on Boxing Day and January 2.

Kyle Walker was sent off against Everton

Barcelona won all three of their Monday fixtures during Guardiola’s tenure – against Sporting Gijon, Real Madrid and Villarreal – by an aggregate score of 13-0. Bayern Munich also won a Monday cup match against German minnows BSV Schwarz-Weiss Rehden during Guardiola’s tenure.

But regardless of that, Guardiola still does not enjoy sitting out the weekend action.

The Spaniard said: “I don’t like to play on Monday because over the weekend everybody is involved and when the weekend is over, they are like, ‘the weekend is over, there are no more games’, but we have to play.

“It’s just from my experience, and I don’t like it. I don’t know if the players can be ready, but we are going to work on that these next few days.”

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