Pep Guardiola gives brutal response to Rodri’s Man City rest plea amid Arsenal title race

Rodri in action for Manchester City against Real Madrid -Credit:Photo by Ion Alcoba Beitia/Getty Images

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has responded to Rodri’s plea for a break, stating that if the midfielder feels he needs rest, he will be granted it. Rodri, who hasn’t lost in 66 appearances for City, raised eyebrows after their midweek draw against Real Madrid when he expressed his need for a break due to extensive playtime.

City sit third in the Premier League table, one point behind Liverpool and Arsenal with just seven games remaining. Rodri has played 41 times in all competitions so far for City, and Guardiola said that while a lack of both physical and mental energy is an issue throughout the squad, the midfielder’s importance to the side may require him to play through any fatigue.

“I didn’t speak with him but if he needs a rest he will have rest. Or no. I don’t know,” he told reporters, via the Manchester Evening News. “More than the physicality, it is a case of spending mental energy. Playing every three days, three days. Of course he’s tired, playing a lot of minutes.

“Rodri is so important for us and we’ll decide tomorrow what we have to do. If a player doesn’t want to play then he’s not going to play. Simple. Another one will play. If he’s exhausted, it can happen and another player is going to play.

“It’s not just Rodri. I’d love to rest central defenders but we don’t have them. In the [international] friendly games they were injured and we are in big, big trouble. So they cannot rest.”

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Meanwhile, Guardiola wouldn’t confirm if Phil Foden and Kevin De Bruyne would be available for this weekend’s clash against Luton. De Bruyne withdrew from the starting line up in midweek with a sudden bout of sickness, while Foden impressed in his place but limped off with a ‘bad dead leg’ towards the end of the draw.

Guardiola said he has not spoken to his medical staff since returning from Madrid but both Foden and De Bruyne were pictured taking part in the recovery session in the Spanish capital on Wednesday.

On Kyle Walker, who has missed every game since the international break with injury, Guardiola said he couldn’t rule the captain in or out of contention against Luton.

“I don’t know. Honestly. Josko [Gvardiol] was out [vs Madrid] but our physios made an incredible job. If he’s ready I would tell you,” he said.