Guardiola to release players for internationals but fears new spike in new Covid cases

February 17 – Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola fears next month’s international break could reap Covid chaos on elite clubs but says he will not stop his players from travelling abroad.

The Premier League recorded just two positive cases for the week of February 8-14 but Guardiola is worried the numbers could rise when players go overseas for international matches.

“I think the Premier League should be concerned about this, all the leagues,” he said ahead of Manchester City’s Champions League fixture against Borussia Monchengladbach, which has been switched to Budapest because of coronavirus restrictions in Germany. “I know the national federations need to play for qualification, for friendlies and preparation for the European Championships in summer time. This is normal.

“But the reason why there was a lot of cases in the Premier League and now there is barely any cases is because the people don’t move. Home-training centre, training centre-home. Home-game, game-home. The moment you take planes and move places, I don’t know, everything can happen.

“It’s difficult enough to control it, so I think something is going to rise, unfortunately. I would love to say, or guess, it’s not going to happen, but from experience it happened in two or three waves worldwide, so if you move you take a risk to get the virus again.

“All the clubs are suffering this, the amount of players going to their own countries to play their international games. So I think everyone is a bit concerned. Experience shows us the only way to be safe is don’t move.

“The players know it already, how the situation is. We’re going to tell them to be careful. But what I would say, from my humble opinion, we should be careful until the summer time, when we finish the season.”

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