Pep Guardiola has admitted his players ‘are not ready’ for the rigours of matches every three days as Manchester City prepare to restart their season against Arsenal on Wednesday.
The Premier League makes its comeback after a three-month coronavirus hiatus and player fitness levels and match sharpness are a big unknown for the managers.
And City boss Guardiola said he won’t know what shape his squad are in for sure until they get back on the pitch.
He said: ‘We are ready to play one game. Three days after and four days after that, we are not ready, not just Man City, all the teams. That is why we have to rotate.
‘You can play a game after three weeks on holiday but we spent two weeks on the sofa doing nothing much. That is why the players are not fully fit.
‘But that is why we have to finish the season. We have to limit the economic damage to the clubs.
‘The way we are right now, I think other clubs and teams [as well], we don’t know. If you ask me how the team is, I don’t know.
City must play 10 league fixture before the end of the season on July 26 and they are also still in the FA Cup, which sees them travel to Newcastle United on June 28 in the quarter-finals.
After the end of the domestic campaign, they will continue their Champions League campaign.
To add to the uncertainty, City, who are 25 points behind champions-elect Liverpool, are due to find out from the Court of Arbitration for Sport sometime next month whether their two-year ban from European competition will be upheld.
Guardiola is looking forward to welcoming Arsenal boss and his former assistant Mikel Arteta back to the Etihad Stadium.
‘We are delighted he will come back, especially if he is happy there,’ he said. ‘We sent a message about an hour and a half ago.
It was about the wine we are going to drink after the game if social distance allows.