Pep Guardiola has no question that Manchester City was correct to cancel its game at Everton on Monday, with a statement released by the Merseyside club demanding “full disclosure” of all facts behind the decision of the Premier League.
After three more City players tested positive for the coronavirus, joining right-back Kyle Walker and striker Gabriel Jesus and two other first-team players who had already tested positive on Christmas Day, the match at Goodison Park was postponed just hours before kickoff. The status of Everton and potential questions about the intentions of his club irritated City manager Guardiola. From the Spaniard’s viewpoint, it was simply a matter of putting the health of the players first, similar to recent demands to allow five substitutes per game. Guardiola said, “We had enough players to play against Everton, we wanted to play against Everton. “But there were more cases on the day of the game and the virus was at our heart. I personally called (Everton manager) Carlo Ancelotti to tell him the situation, so we could play, but what would have happened if we had traveled by bus and had the virus on more players, because the day before we were all in touch and there would have been a chance that we would have infected Everton players? It was an incredible risk. “When a case like this has happened in this situation, it is important to look after the welfare of the players and staff (and we have) seven (infected) people at this club who are together every day. “There are clubs moaning when it’s only a matter of us taking care of the health (of the staff), while many people die every day in the UK and many people get infected every day. “Kyle Walker is one of five Manchester City players currently isolated with the coronavirus (Peter Powell/PA)Ancelotti was more sincere in his tone than the club in his statement when asked about the situation. “I certainly prefer the statement of Carlo Ancelotti to the statement of the club,” he said. “We were consistent. We were clear. We talked to the Premier League and I personally called Carlo, and we said, ‘Okay, let the clubs do what they have to do, and let the Premier League do what they have to do, and that’s all.’ “Guardiola denied City was trying to take advantage of the delay because Everton could have a number of its injured players back when the game is rescheduled.He said, “That day we would have liked to play Everton. We will go to Goodison Park (now) when hopefully (Lucas) Digne, Richarlison, Allan, James (Rodriguez) will be able to play and we will beat them, with all of them. Everton manager Ancelotti expressed best wishes for the infected City players (Nick Potts/PA) “We would have liked to play this game, but unfortunately I believe that the Premier League has decided, wisely, not to increase the cases for the welfare of all.”