‘Protect the players!’ – Guardiola calls for five sub rule to be reintroduced

Pep Guardiola has called for the reintroduction of the five-substitute ruling and says the changes should be made to ‘protect the players’.

Last season saw the introduction of additional substitutes following the restart of the Premier League season in June, the change to the law brought in for player welfare amid a congested fixture schedule.

Premier League clubs voted on whether to keep the ruling for the 2020/21 campaign, with a majority voting against the proposals in favour of returning to the permission of three substitutes.

Several of the division’s clubs argued that additional substitutes favoured wealthier teams with deeper and more expensively assembled squads, 11 representative sides – including newly-promoted trio Leeds, West Brom and Fulham – voting against five substitutes.

An increase in injuries over the opening weeks of the campaign have now prompted calls for the decision to be reconsidered, with Manchester City manager Guardiola joining the likes of Manchester United’s Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in calling for a rethink.

“It’s to protect the players, not to protect one team. Hopefully they can 
reconsider,” Guardiola told the press ahead of his sides trip to Brammall Lane to face Sheffield United tomorrow.

“We have to adjust due to the pandemic, to many things. Reality is
 complicated. The football is the players.


Guardiola’s side travel to face Sheffield United in Saturday’s lunchtime kick-off and the Spaniard has provided an update on City’s injured stars, confirming Sergio Aguero will miss the clash at Bramall Lane.

There was better news on the fitness of both Gabriel Jesus and Nathan Ake, though Guardiola refused to confirm whether either player would feature against Chris Wilder’s Blades.

“They are getting better,” he added.

“Now we have the
training session, so we will have an update.

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