Manager Pep Guardiola denies reports his players were overweight, but did stress the importance of fitness as his side prepare to face Borussia Dortmund in China.
Guardiola stresses importance of player’s fitness
RESENDING WITH FULL SCRIPT
SHOWS: SHENZHEN, CHINA (JULY 27, 2016) (REUTERS – ACCESS ALL)
1. VARIOUS OF MANCHESTER CITY MANAGER PEP GUARDIOLA LOOKING ON DURING TRAINING
2. FORWARDS SERGIO AGUERO AND NOLITO TRAINING ALONGSIDE MIDFIELDER FERNANDO
3. (SOUNDBITE) (English) MANCHESTER CITY MANAGER, PEP GUARDIOLA, SAYING:
“They were not overweight but I want my players fit. For me, the weight is so, so important. We need to run, we need to fight, we need to jump — to have the ball, after three days, then after three days again, then after three days again. When you are not fit, when your weight is not proper, then the injuries are coming. They are not fast enough, quicker in the head enough. That’s why I want my players absolutely fit.”
STORY: Manager Pep Guardiola has dismissed reports that a small number of Manchester City players turned up for pre-season training overweight but stressed the importance of keeping players fit ahead of the new Premier League season.
Guardiola’s emphasis on fitness was highlighted when left back Gael Clichy revealed that the manager had taken pizzas off the menu at City and imposed strict weight parameters on the squad, with the threat of a ban from training with the first team if they were breached.
“They were not overweight but I want my players fit,” Guardiola told reporters in China on Wednesday (July 27).
“For me, the weight is so, so important. We need to run, we need to fight, we need to jump — to have the ball, after three days, then after three days again, then after three days again. When you are not fit, when your weight is not proper, then the injuries are coming.
Guardiola, who is on a pre-season tour in China with City, was forced to call off the last match in Beijing, against rivals Manchester United, after the pitch was deemed to dangerous to play on.
Guardiola, who replaced Manuel Pellegrini, has already added four players, including winger Nolito and German midfielder Ilkay Guendogan, to the City ranks hoping to rebuild the squad after the club stumbled to a fourth-place finish last season.
The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich coach’s first season in England begins with a home clash against Sunderland at the Etihad Stadium on Aug. 13.