PEP GUARDIOLA said he was happy to be back after an enforced break, but he had a funny way of showing it.
In different measure, he was delighted, proud, happy and even surprised with how well his team played to come back from a goal down with three second-half strikes to maintain their 100% record five games into their latest defence of the Premier League title.
In his first match since recent back surgery and the first for his players since the international 'break', the Manchester City manager warned he would have to start playing his 'second team' to combat injury problems and get through a dense fixture list.
The Catalan coach is attempting to mastermind the defence of his first Champions League crown too and that competition resumes this week with the visit of Red Star Belgrade to Manchester.
That should be winnable even if injured players such as John Stones, Kevin de Bruyne, Jack Grealish and Mateo Kovacic remain sidelined for Tuesday's match against Serbia's reigning Super Liga champions.
But he insisted the demands on players, once the midweek fixtures kick in, is asking too much, especially when they also have to travel the globe for international fixtures, as 15 members of his first team squad did last week.
The price of success? Maybe, but he is hardly a lone voice among Premier League managers in highlighting the physical and mental issues players are increasingly struggling to overcome with each passing hectic season. We are used to hearing about fatigue and injuries further into campaigns, but it is unusual after only four or five matches.
Guardiola summed it up when he said: “We treat the players in not a good way. We are so irresponsible in how we treat the players.
“When you have a lot of injuries theRead on irishexaminer.com