Chelsea stars train as Tuchel riles Guardiola over Covid claims - in pictures

Blues coach claimed City have been more fortunate with Coronavirus absences

Pep Guardiola has hit back at Thomas Tuchel’s assertion that Manchester City have not suffered as much as Chelsea with outbreaks of Covid-19.

City have pulled 10 points clear at the top of the Premier League but Chelsea boss Tuchel claimed the absence of key players following positive tests as one of the factors.

“They did not suffer from Covid as we did over many weeks, so this is a huge difference,” said the German ahead of Saturday’s clash between the two giants at the Etihad Stadium.

His remarks come after Liverpool defender Virgil Van Dijk claimed City may have had more luck than the Merseysiders throughout the recent wave of Omicron infections.

City manager Guardiola accepts they have a right to an opinion but thinks his players are not being given enough credit.

“If they believe it’s the reason why then maybe, maybe. Sometimes it’s the money that we have, sometimes it’s Covid. I don’t know. What can I say?

“But the pandemic is all around the world and everywhere there is the virus. We are exposed every single minute and day to getting it.

“We have had a lot of cases and injuries. We played Aston Villa with 11 players in the first team.

“For the last six or seven games we’ve had four or five Academy players on the bench. We are in the same situation as all other clubs.

“It’s not like we are not wiser than others, or because we do the protocols better than the other ones, the virus comes to the bubble and everyone suffers, so we are no exception.

“Today we are OK but in a few hours we might have four or five positives. That is why we have to adapt, adjust, and work out what we have to do.

“The rest, the points we’ve got so far is down to the quality of the players, this is the main reason why.”

Updated: January 15th 2022, 8:46 AM