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Manchester City without five players for Chelsea trip after positive coronavirus tests

Guardiola says City had enough players to fulfill Everton fixture but transmission was a risk

Mark Critchley
Northern Football Correspondent
Friday 01 January 2021 14:38 GMT
Mancehster City defender Kyle Walker (left) and striker Gabriel Jesus (right)
Mancehster City defender Kyle Walker (left) and striker Gabriel Jesus (right) (AFP via Getty Images)

Five Manchester City players have tested positive for coronavirus and will be unavailable for Sunday's trip to Chelsea, Pep Guardiola has confirmed.

That number includes Kyle Walker and Gabriel Jesus, who tested positive before Christmas, but Guardiola said he could not reveal the identities of the other three "important" players who will miss the trip to Stamford Bridge.

City's Premier League meeting with Everton was postponed just hours before kick-off on Monday night following an increase in positive tests at the club, which saw the training ground closed until Wednesday afternoon.

Guardiola said that City had enough players to fulfill the Goodison Park fixture but the risk of transmitting the virus to Everton’s squad meant it had to be postponed. 

Guardiola also revealed that he had called his Everton counterpart Carlo Ancelotti before Monday’s postponement to personally explain the situation.

"Five players are out right now. They are isolated for 10 days ago, some the first cases that were released – four people, two players - and three more the second time. 

"I think the Premier League will not allow us to say [who] but you will see who does not travel and you will know who they are.

"We had enough players to play Everton, we wanted to play, we had enough players and we had the academy. But for the day of the game there were more cases and the virus was inside out centre. We informed the Premier League. 

"I called Carlo to announce the situation, as we could play, but if we travelled on the coach, the day before we were in touch all of us, it was a risk for infecting Everton players.

“People are dying all around the world. In the UK, it’s been over 900 for over two days. The problem is still here. But now we’ve disinfected, the whole centre, and hopefully the next tests are all negative and those who are isolated are all back.”

When asked which three first-team players will miss Sunday’s game in addition to Walker and Jesus, Guardiola said that the Premier League had instructed City not to disclose their identities.

“The Premier League said not to reveal it. Some clubs announce, sometimes [they] don’t and we have to respect the privacy for the players. Tomorrow you will see three players are not there. I’m not allowed to tell you.”

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