Pep Guardiola highlights rise in muscle injuries as Sergio Aguero could face a month out

Pep Guardiola expects this season’s Champions League to be a case of survival of the

Pep Guardiola expects this season’s Champions League to be a case of survival of the fittest, after revealing he will be without Sergio Aguero for up to a month. 

The Manchester City manager, who has been outspoken on authorities failing in their duty of care to players, says he has received statistics showing a 47 per cent increase in muscular injuries during the rescheduled start to the season during the coronavirus pandemic. 

City have counted the cost with Aguero back in the treatment room with a hamstring injury suffered against West Ham United at the weekend when he attempted to play his way back to full fitness with little time to recover on the training pitch.  

Guardiola also has Gabriel Jesus, Ferandinho and Benjamin Mendy out for Tuesday’s match in Marseille. Aguero is a huge doubt for the key domestic fixture against Liverpool on November 8, with Guardiola insisting the teams staying fit will be successful this season. 

“On Sunday everyone got the statistics that in the Premier League we have 47 per cent more muscular injuries than the same period last season,” Guardiola said. “If people can reflect this it protects the players, if we don’t it will increase. If we don’t it will be the same in January. We have to protect them as best as possible. The strongest will ones survive, the others will fall down.”

Aguero, 32, had just returned from a knee injury and was making his third start at the weekend and Guardiola suggested his comeback would have been different if his team were not handed their gruelling schedule which included Carabao Cup games. 

“How long he is out depends on the person injured, minimum it is 10 to 15, if it is longer it is three weeks to a month. Muscular injuries doesn’t move away from this time and Sergio is no exception,” Guardiola said. 

“We were incredibly patient, we didn’t force him. People told me he was ready, of course we knew he wasn’t for the game before Porto, we knew he wasn’t in the best condition because we are not training, we are playing without the strikers we have. 

“In those games we tried to avoid the last 25 or 30 minutes when the muscles get tired. Unfortunately one action in the first half on Saturday was unlucky, he wanted to stop and shoot and felt something.”

Aguero, City’s leading scorer with 255 goals, is in the final year of his contract at the Etihad and Guardiola links his long-term future at the club with his fitness.  

“We need him. What he’s done in this club is outstanding. He will be a legend of this club but we want to enjoy him more,” Guardiola said. “It depends on his physical condition. We missed him for a long time. Hopefully he’ll be fit as much as possible.”

Guardiola admitted he considered buying a striker in the summer but could not have foreseen the injury problems he has suffered. 

“We thought about it, another type of striker, but we couldn’t do it,” he said. “The club did what it could. They want to reinvest in the team. Our team is so young. When you decide to buy a striker they need to be on Gabriel and Sergio’s level and you cannot afford it. That’s the reality. I’m not saying the club didn’t want to do it, they wanted to make as strong a team as possible, but we thought Sergio is coming back and we didn’t expect Gabriel’s injury.”

Source Article