Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has expressed his frustration with the timing of his team’s fixtures, as they prepare to face Real Madrid in the Champions League semi-final second leg.
City, who are leading the Premier League, will play Everton at Goodison Park on Sunday, only three days before they host Real at the Etihad Stadium. Real, meanwhile, will have an extra day of rest, as they play Getafe in La Liga on Saturday.
Guardiola said he does not “understand” why City have to play on Sunday, when one of the reasons is that Liverpool is hosting the Eurovision Song Contest on Saturday.
“I can’t understand it but I’m not going to fight it any more,” he said.
“OK, you have to adapt. What can I do? We’d prefer to play Saturday to be able to prepare but it is what it is.
“I’m pretty sure the Premier League want to help the teams. I don’t think they make it uncomfortable.”
Sunday’s match at Everton is a vital one for both teams, as City aim to stay ahead of Arsenal at the top of the table and Everton fight to avoid relegation from the 17th position.
City drew 1-1 with Real in the first leg of their semi-final on Tuesday and Guardiola said his focus is solely on beating Sean Dyche’s side at Goodison Park.
“My thought is just Everton – no more than that,” he said.
“It’s 11 months working for the Premier League. We don’t have much time to [prepare for] Madrid because we play Sunday – thank you so much – but it’s a real, real priority, Goodison Park.”
After Everton, City will face Chelsea at home and Brighton away in their last league games before ending the season at Brentford, their west London rivals.
City have a game in hand over Arsenal, who are one point behind them in second place.
Guardiola said he expects Arsenal to “definitely” win their remaining games – against Brighton, Nottingham Forest and Wolves – but he insisted his team must not depend on other results.
“There are four games left in the Premier League and it’s really important to be there and keep our destiny in our hands,” he said.