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Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has confirmed that he will not have five players for Sunday’s game with Chelsea due to positive tests for COVID-19.
The Premier League was forced to postpone a scheduled meeting between City and Everton in late December after Guardiola’s team was hit by several positive tests in two separate rounds of testing, raising fears that there had been a uncontrolled outbreak at the club’s training ground.
Subsequent tests have yielded no more positives, and Guardiola has now confirmed that he will only be without the five players when they travel to Stamford Bridge on Sunday.
“Five right now,” he said (via Manchester evening news). “Five players are isolated for ten days and some of them, the first cases that were launched, were four people, two players, and three more the second time.
“The Premier League told us not to. Maybe we have to respect the privacy of the players. Tomorrow you will see the line-ups and three important players who are not there, so you will know exactly, but I cannot tell you.”
It has already been confirmed that Kyle Walker and Gabriel Jesus are in isolation, while goalkeeper Ederson confirmed the Instagram that he too is isolating.
Despite the lack of players, Guardiola did not want the game to be postponed, nor did he want Everton to be suspended. The Toffees were frustrated with the decision and Guardiola admitted that he was equally disappointed.
“We had enough players to play Everton. We wanted to play Everton. We had enough players. We have the academy,” he said.
“I personally called Carlo Ancelotti to announce the situation because we could play, but what if we travel in the coach and more players get it? The day before we were all in contact and what would happen if the Everton players got infected from us?
“It was a huge risk, because it’s not about what happens here in Manchester City, it’s about what happens around the world.
“Unfortunately people are dying all over the world and in the UK. Unfortunately the problem is still here. Hopefully in the next few tests everyone is negative and people who are positive at this time can come back safely.”
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