Football in the COVID era has seen a multitude of changes and one of them has revolved around the laws governing substitutes. However, Pep Guardiola has slammed the decision to revert to three substitutions this season.
Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has criticised those clubs who voted against maintaining the temporary introduction of five substitutes and said that some people "don’t understand absolutely anything."
The change to the traditional rule was in effect after the resumption of last season when the Premier League changed their rules in June.
The new rule allowed nine substitutes to be named, of which five could be used during matches.
The idea was that playing in the hot summer months, combined with a congested fixture list and surrounded by a health crisis necessitated a change to protect players from fatigue and injury.
Granted, there's an obvious argument that this benefited the clubs with the most depth to their squad.
Prior to the start of the new season, several clubs wanted the new rule to remain in place, arguing that the same issues remained, those being the busy schedule and the health crisis.
The proposal was voted down 13-7 by the league’s clubs, who felt five subs would give the bigger sides an advantage.
Speaking about this development, Guardiola said: “I don’t understand why in this incredible period when everyone is concerned about Covid-19 and everyone is not allowed to go to restaurants, or should observe social distance and is not allowed to do what you want to do - in this incredible schedule we have after the pandemic, and (after) we finished the season late and started quickly - how we cannot protect the players with five substitutions. Instead, we stick to three."
The Manchester City boss was emphatic in his dismissal of the idea that the ability to use five substitutes favours the bigger sides.
"When the argument is that it favours the top five or top six, it’s because the people don’t understand absolutely anything. The guys who are going to play (in teams) below the top five or six teams - the teams that people suggest are the stronger - they have the same problem as all of them," he said.
As for Manchester City's immediate future, they travel to Wolves on Monday.