Pep Guardiola claims he would move to a tropical paradise and relax under coconut trees if he could not stand the rigours of Manchester City’s demanding schedule.
The City boss can understand why his Liverpool counterpart Jurgen Klopp has expressed frustration about the timing of his side’s fixture this weekend.
Liverpool, who are involved in a tight Premier League title race with City, must play at Newcastle at 12.30pm on Saturday having been involved in a Champions League semi-final on Wednesday.
City, on the other hand, are not in action until 5.30pm on the same day having had an extra day’s rest since their Champions League outing against Real Madrid on Tuesday.
Guardiola has revealed similar concerns when the roles have been reversed in the past but has come to the conclusion that complaining is fruitless.
The Spaniard said: “Nothing is going to change. It’s not going to change because the broadcasters are thinking about what they have to do to get more viewers. It’s not about what the players need or what the teams need.
“Of course I understand it but what can I say? We are not going to solve the problem, I’ve said that many times.
“Sir Alex Ferguson was the most important icon in the history of English football and he was complaining when he was a teenager.
“Don’t ask me again these questions because it wastes time. Nothing is going to change.
“We adapt. If they say ‘play Saturday’, we play Saturday. If they say ‘play Tuesday’, we play Tuesday. Thursday? We are going to play Thursday. Whatever they want, no problem.
“If I’m not satisfied I go home and don’t be manager of Man City. I go to another league in the Maldives, the Maldives League, and play one game a week and I’m so comfortable under the coconuts. It would be so perfect.”
Champions City lead Liverpool by just one point with five games remaining heading into this weekend’s fixtures.
There has been plenty of mutual respect between Guardiola and Klopp in recent weeks, but that did not prevent the City manager appearing to have a sly dig at his rival on Friday.
Guardiola was asked at a press conference whether he agreed Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah was a worthy recipient of the Football Writers’ Association’s men’s player of the year award ahead of City playmaker Kevin De Bruyne.
He said: “Congratulations to Salah. Jurgen said they have the best keeper, the second-best keeper in the world, the best central defender, the best holding midfielder, the best striker – so it’s normal they win all the awards.”
Guardiola was more sincere when asked about Klopp’s new contract extension at Liverpool – the German having committed to the Anfield club until 2026 – but insisted it would have no impact on his own renewal talks.
Guardiola, who is contracted until the end of next season, said: “Congratulations to Jurgen and Liverpool. I think it’s really good for the Premier League. I wish him all the best for the future.
“But everyone has their own situations and if we decide to stay longer it’s because together we decided to, not because Jurgen extended his contract or didn’t. My focus is on Leeds – and then the end of the season.”
City right-back Kyle Walker remains on the sidelines with an ankle injury, with Guardiola saying, “I don’t know right now” when asked if he might play again this season, while John Stones could be back for the return leg against Real Madrid on Wednesday.