I do need a rest – Rodri admits he needs a break during Man City’s run-in

By Sports Desk April 10, 2024

Rodri admits he needs a break amid the intensity of Manchester City’s relentless pursuit of an unprecedented second successive treble.

The Spain international, who has not lost any of his last 66 games for club and country in a run stretching back more than a year, is vital to City’s bid to make history.

Yet Pep Guardiola’s influential midfield driving force looked laboured at times in Tuesday’s thrilling 3-3 Champions League draw at Real Madrid and concedes the schedule is taking its toll.

The 27-year-old said: “Every one of us can do better, even myself, but we need to rest to be honest.

“I do. I do need a rest. Let’s see how we speak, how we live the situation. Sometimes it is what it is.

“I need to adjust. It (rest) is something we are planning, yes.”

Guardiola could therefore make some changes for Saturday’s Premier League encounter with relegation-threatened Luton, as he looks ahead to the return clash with Real next Wednesday.

Yet with just a point separating the top three in the domestic competition, there is little margin for error for third-placed City.

Rodri felt the holders showed their mettle as they recovered from a 2-1 half-time deficit to lead on an enthralling night at the Bernabeu Stadium.

Bernardo Silva’s early strike was wiped out by a Ruben Dias own goal and Rodrygo effort, but the English side responded with stunning strikes from Phil Foden and Josko Gvardiol.

Real, however, were able to have the final say as Federico Valverde volleyed a late equaliser to ensure the second leg of the quarter-final tie will begin evenly poised.

“We showed our mentality to come back, to be honest,” said Rodri. “To go against them and come back with those goals sums up the mentality of the champions we are.

“It was a good result for us in terms of how the game was and everything is open. It’s one game in our home now and we are very strong there.”

City claimed a draw at the Santiago Bernabeu in the first leg of the semi-finals last year before thrashing the Spanish giants 4-0 at the Etihad Stadium to go through.

“Of course we can recreate it,” said Rodri, a former Atletico Madrid player. “We know how strong we are in our home.

“The key thing was, we knew whatever happened it wasn’t going to be over, even if we won or we lost. We have a draw that is the same result we had last season.

“It’s a good result in terms of the feeling of the team. We were finding the spaces in the second half, we did it great and now we move to Manchester. If we copy the first 20-30 minutes of the second half here, it’s going to be difficult for them.”

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    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    Luton Town - Alfie Doughty

    With 42, Doughty has created the most chances from set-plays in the Premier League this season.

    Meanwhile, only West Ham's James Ward-Prowse has registered more such assists (six) than the Luton full-back (five).

    Fulham - Andreas Pereira

    Pereira has created 84 chances in the Premier League this season, the most by a Fulham player in a single campaign (since 2003-04). 

    Meanwhile, his tally of seven assists is the highest by a Cottagers player in a single term since Simon Davies in 2007-08 (eight).

    MATCH PREDICTION: DRAW

    Both sides are on winless streaks; Luton failing to win any of their last five matches, and Fulham without victory in four attempts.

    The Hatters have failed to win any of their last six league games against the Cottagers (drawn two, lost four), though both those draws have come in the two most recent meetings at Kenilworth Road. 

    Luton have only kept two clean sheets this season and conceded 81 goals – only letting more in during a top-flight campaign in 1982-83 (84).

    While Fulham have kept two successive away clean sheets – after 12 straight games without one – they have not registered three in a row since a run of four in late 2008.

    The Cottagers have not won their final league game in any of the last six seasons (drawing one, losing five), with a 2-1 win over Sheffield Wednesday in 2016-17 representing their most recent such success.

    OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

    Luton Town: 33.9%
    Fulham: 37.7%
    Draw: 28.4%

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