Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola is hoping his players will return from the international break this month to continue their competition on three other fronts and play crucial matches in defending the Premier League title this season.
City will play eight games within 29 days after the international break, with the club competing on three fronts – the Premier League, the FA Cup and the Champions League – after winning the League Cup this month.
City are currently second in the league and have a delayed game, two points behind leaders Liverpool, while Guardiola reached the semi-finals of the FA Cup and the quarter-finals of the Champions League.
“I wish them a safe return, they will play with their teams, I invite them to enjoy the national duty, but I hope that they will return in the best case as they are,” Guardiola told Citi’s website.
“I want them to be back in full shape,” he said. “Given the matches, we are going to play in April, we need everyone’s efforts.
Guardiola said the players who will not join their national teams will get a break for a week before returning to training but relies on the return of injured players to help the team one way or another.
“Everyone will play, Kevin de Bruin, Fernandinho, John Stones and Benjamin Mendy, all of them will be back soon and we need their efforts, even if they play for 10 or 15 minutes,” said Guardiola.
“We need everyone because we have reached a point where we are competing for three other titles, we need everyone, not just 11 players.”
City’s next game against Fulham will be on March 30.