'UEFA don't care' - Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp hit out at newly extended Champions League format
Both Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola and Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp spoke out against the new Champions League format that requires players to participate in more games than previous iterations. The changes were put through by UEFA with the focus on the proposed European Super League, and the City boss expects the demands to be too great.
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However, UEFA has itself expanded the Champions League which will result in more European games being played, and there is also the European Conference tournament to be played, in addition to the Europa League and Champions League.
“I'm sure we could do more, racism and other issues in society could be improved like human rights,” he told a press conference.
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“People in many cases show the values, sometimes we react for the human rights, better societies, sometimes we are not so committed like we are sometimes in football.
Every time is the same, all the world football is asking the better quality and the football world wants quantity. We are not in charge. We have to ask UEFA, FIFA to extend the year. Maybe we can find 400 days a year. I don't know, honestly.
Guardiola believes that the increased number of games will cause fitness problems for players who have already been affected by the disruption from the coronavirus pandemic.
“Of course there will be more injuries. These guys finish an incredibly tough season, six days break then go to the national teams,” he said.
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“The national managers want them to train, when they're finished a week off then come back for pre-season tours to Europe or Asia or America. Then the Community Shield if we qualify.
The players love to play but sometimes will get injured. UEFA knows it but don't care.
"We are going to play, we are lucky we're in the Champions League next season. It's a lot, honestly, we didn't have a midweek off. I cannot train them, just to handle the team as sharp as possible.
“I cannot train anything, just videos, remember what you have to do. You have no pre-season to learn principles. As a manager yes international break but not the players.
“Every time we speak about it to UEFA, they say we take note but after more games. Then a new competition. It's like an actor or actress in a theatre going three times a day, they like to make a good performance but three times a day is too much.”
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Klopp meanwhile was relieved that the ESL collapsed, saying: “The most positive thing is that it didn't happen."
He too was unhappy with the new changes in the Champions League.
“You can't just introduce always more competitions,” he began. “Very good that the new Super League is off the table, but the new Champions League is not great. UEFA showed me the idea and I said I don't like it - 10 games rather than six. No idea where to put them in.
"The only people who never get asked are the coaches, the players and the supporters. UEFA didn't ask us, the Super League didn't ask us. It's just always 'play more games' - that's not possible."
"I'm not an expert in the format. The people who produce the calendar to recover the players, they do the opposite because it's their business. I'm not the guy to tell them. Premier League, UEFA, FIFA, we give our opinion, after that we can't do anything.
"If they decide ten more games then 10 more games. The show must go on. My business is to prepare the players. If the World Cup plays 56 teams they play 56 teams.”