Pep Guardiola will miss Manchester City’s FA Cup match with Swindon Town after becoming the latest Premier League manager to test positive for COVID-19. The game is scheduled for Friday at 3 pm ET.
A total of seven players and 14 backroom employees from within the first-team bubble are in self-isolation, including Guardiola and his assistant Juanma Lillo, according to an official statement of the club. The brief statement did not give an update on the extent of Guardiola’s symptoms, or the identity of the players who tested positive.
Former Liverpool manager Rodolfo Borrell will take over City’s third-round trip to League Two Swindon with the game set to go ahead at this stage, alongside the Premier League clash with Chelsea on January 15. .
Who is Rodolfo Borrell?
Former Liverpool academy coach Rodolfo Borrell will be on the bench for the trip to Swindon. The 50-year-old joined the club in 2014 and became part of Guardiola’s coaching staff when the Catalan took over two years later.
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After spending 13 years working at Barcelona’s famous La Masia academy, Borrell has a reputation for helping nurture young talent having worked with players like Lionel Messi, Andrés Iniesta and Raheem Sterling at a young age. He worked with Barcelona’s youth from 1995 to 2009 before joining Liverpool for five years, eventually being promoted to academy technical director in 2012. He made the switch to Man City in 2014, first as academy technical director and then moved on. to the first team in 2016 when Guardiola arrived.
He is one of Guardiola’s most trusted lieutenants, having remained a part of his coaching staff during his time at the club, while former assistants Domenec Torrent and Mikel Arteta moved to New York City FC and Arsenal respectively.
RODOLFO 💬 The FA Cup is very special. This is one of the titles we are most proud of in the last 6 years. It is important to get it right and move on to the next stage.
It will be very close, like any other tie in this competition.
– Manchester City (@ManCity) January 6, 2022
Borrell assisted Phil Foden in the transition from the club’s academy to the first team and could be crucial in establishing what is likely to be a young team traveling to Swindon in their goal of winning the FA Cup for the second time in 10 years. He has also overseen the first team assimilation of Man City’s recent academy graduate Cole Palmer, who has broken into the first team this season with four Premier League appearances in midfield. Unless he’s involved in the COVID-19 outbreak, Palmer could be involved in Swindon’s party.
How many games will Pep Guardiola miss?
After Man City confirmed that Guardiola would miss the tie against Swindon due to a positive COVID-19 test, it is difficult to determine exactly how many more matches he will not be available for.
The mandatory isolation period in England has been reduced from 10 days to seven, meaning that in theory the City manager would be available to return to the bench for the clash with Chelsea on January 15. That, however, does not take into account whether Guardiola’s symptoms. get worse and / or if you have an additional positive test at a later date.
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Currently, Man City does not have games that need to be replenished for previous COVID-19 cancellations that could be added to the schedule in the near future. Only City and Chelsea have played all 21 full Premier League games so far, and the other 18 Premier League clubs have seen at least one game postponed and many with multiple games to make up.
How serious is the COVID-19 outbreak in Man City?
City confirmed that there had been a major COVID-19 outbreak at the club on January 6, and that the game against Swindon was scheduled for Friday night. That game will go ahead, despite the fact that Guardiola and Lillo have tested positive.
The club also confirmed that 14 backroom employees and seven first-team players are isolating themselves due to COVID-related reasons, with several young players now ready to take the field at County Ground.
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It remains to be seen how the situation will affect City’s Premier League plans, with games against Chelsea in nine days and Southampton before February.
While the status of the current outbreak is unknown as to who has been affected, both Phil Foden and Oleksandr Zinchenko are known to be dealing with positive tests, with that information revealed days before this round of positives by several journalists. It is unclear when they tested positive, but the club confirmed that both are “short of full team fitness” ahead of Manchester City’s final game against Arsenal on New Year’s Day.
RODOLFO 💬 To fill the entire squad and travel with five, six substitutes, we had to bring players from the second team.
We traveled with the team, a mixture of both, and obviously we will seek victory and try to make the best of the game.
– Manchester City (@ManCity) January 6, 2022