As one of the most successful coaches of the last few years, Pep Guardiola has made a name for himself in many ways. One of his most impressive attributes, though, is his ability to speak with clarity and with honesty about situations of major concern. For example, he has often spoken with candour when it comes to political issues and social issues. From his wording around the Black Lives Matter movement to various incidents back in Spain regarding Catalan independence, he has always spoke his mind when he has felt it needed.
And this week, Guardiola has again been quick to speak his mind. Manchester City have been a club who has been affected and impacted with COVID-19 throughout the season for various reasons. However, the regulations that the club has been dealing with throughout appear to have confused the manager, who said he did not understand why some games have been postponed due to high test results. Meanwhile, other games with similar volumes of testing appear to have played on without any delay. For the City manager, it was important to try and understand the thinking behind the current regulations being put in place.
Over the weekend, both Aston Villa and Derby County were forced to put out academy sides instead of having first team players or coaching staff involved. It led to a 2-0 loss for Derby against Chlorey in the FA Cup, and a 4-1 loss for Aston Villa at home to Liverpool. However, City themselves have also been impacted several times, including this weekend when Sergio Aguero missed out on a 3-0 win over Birmingham City.
When asked to discuss the issues that he felt were present with the COVID regulation, Guardiola most spoke of confusion and a lack of understanding. Though quick to avoid critique, as such, Guardiola was clear that the rules are not as clear as they could be, saying: “I read them, the new protocols. We are going to follow them. But when one guy scores a goal, I don’t know if they can be controlled and not celebrate it.
“All of us (involved on match days) are tested negative, every two days. I don’t know what is going to happen – but one guy scores a goal, the joy to celebrate it, I don’t know if he is going to think, ‘I cannot hug my mate for two, three seconds’.
“There are teams with four or five cases and played 10 players from the under-23s in the FA Cup. We are four or five, the same situation, and we are here.
“One guy is isolated and the group has to continue. So, I don’t know. We follow what the people say at the club, the Premier League. We follow the rules. That is what it is.
“Sergio was in contact with one person and must be isolated – that is good – but we were in touch with Sergio as well, and we played. Aston Villa had 10 players isolated plus the manager. So, I don’t know.”
As one of several coaches to query the situation and the regulations so far, it looks like there are somre pretty significant questions to answer moving forward.