Pep Guardiola fears Manchester City will need to spend ‘two days in the fridge’ to cope with their gruelling Christmas schedule.
The Premier League revealed their fixtures for December and January on Thursday and it offers little help to City.
Their trip to Wolves has been moved back from Boxing Day to December 27, before they welcome Sheffield United to the Etihad Stadium on December 29.
That leaves a gap of roughly 44 hours between one match ending and the other one kicking off and Guardiola is worried about his players’ welfare.
‘The players should go to the fridge. I am not joking,’ Guardiola told reporters on Friday.
‘Go home, open the fridge and get inside for 48 hours. See you at the Etihad Stadium.
‘Maybe when I go to the fridge to make an omelette, maybe I can talk with them. Apart from that, no way.’
While Guardiola is alarmed by the demands of the fixture list, he accepts getting on with the job has been very successful for City in the last two years.
‘We’re in October and we have many games before that. When I read the fixtures yesterday, I said ‘That’s OK’,’ he said.
‘I accept this business. Sometimes it is good, sometimes it is not. We work harder and organise better to do it.
‘But I am concerned for the players. It is a business and the people do not care about the players. He’s injured? OK, use another one.
‘We’ve solved it in the past and we’ll solve in the future. It’s the only way. Don’t complain or call my chairman asking ‘what’s happened?’
‘If we can’t solve it, then we cannot win four titles in one season. We didn’t complain. We accept it and we will be stronger.’
City kick off at Crystal Palace on Saturday languishing eight points behind leaders Liverpool following the champions’ 2-0 defeat at home to Wolves just before the international break.
Rather than worry about catching Liverpool, Guardiola will focus on solving the problems that undermined City against Wolves and in their shock loss at Norwich earlier this season.
‘Never since I arrived have I said that we need 90 points, 100 points,’ he said.
‘I look at how many points we need in March or April. Now we have 50 games left in all competitions. We have to play to enjoy and to have fun, then we will see.
‘I am not the guy who thinks we are going to win all the titles. I am not concerned about that.
‘I want us to be who we are and get back to that. What Liverpool are doing is fantastic. That is the target and we have to try to cope.
‘Of course we want to win. We are contenders and we can do it, but we are not thinking about the points.’
Want stories like this in your inbox?
Sign up to exclusive daily email
More Stories from Football