- Associated Press - Friday, December 23, 2016

MANCHESTER, England (AP) - Manchester City’s players are unlikely to be seeing much of their families this Christmas.

City coach Pep Guardiola has detailed the plans for his team ahead of its Dec. 26 match at northern team Hull in the English Premier League and it seems Christmas Day is no holiday for his players.

“We’re going to train tomorrow (Dec. 24) and on Dec. 25, and in the afternoon we’re going to travel to Hull by bus,” said Guardiola, who is renowned as a workaholic. “We’re going to prepare for the game like it’s not Christmas time. No special days.”

During his spells in charge of Barcelona and Bayern Munich, Guardiola would be on a winter break over the Christmas and New Year period so it’s a new experience for him at City, with league play continuing as normal over the festive period.

In fact, it gets even busier. City must play three games over eight days, with the second and third games - at Liverpool on Dec. 31 and at home to Burnley on Jan. 2 - played inside 48 hours.

That explains why there’s no room for down time this Christmas under Guardiola, who says he has spoken to players like David Silva about how to deal with the intensity of the Premier League’s festive schedule.

“It’s my first (year) here. I didn’t know that the people in the winter and the Christmas time have to be focused, focused, focused on what you have to do,” Guardiola said. “Because at home, you celebrate, you have dinners and lunch. We have to be prepared.”

City is in third place in the Premier League, seven points behind first-place Chelsea.


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