London, Jan 1 (AFP/APP): Manchester City will be without five players for Sunday’s Premier League trip to Chelsea due to positive tests for coronavirus, Pep Guardiola has confirmed as he defended the decision to postpone Monday’s clash with Everton.
City revealed there had been four positive cases at the club on Christmas Day, including for players Kyle Walker and Gabriel Jesus. A further round of testing found three more cases among the City squad on Monday, leading to the match being called off just four hours before kick-off.
“Five players are isolating for 10 days,” said Guardiola on Friday. “Some of them, the first cases that were released, it was four people – two players – and three more the second time.” City have not revealed the identity of the other three players to test positive, who will also miss Wednesday’s League Cup semi-final against Manchester United.
The decision to postpone the Everton match attracted some criticism as City did have the required 14 fit senior players by Premier League rules to fulfil the fixture. Everton said they would be seeking clarification from the league authorities on how the postponement came about.
However, Guardiola highlighted the risk of his players passing on the virus to Everton’s squad. “Personally I called (Everton manager) Carlo Ancelotti to announce the situation because we could play, but what happens if we travel on the coach and more players get it?” Guardiola said.
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