Pep Guardiola feels as if his Manchester City players are not getting as much joy from playing football in the current climate.
The Catalan’s comments came despite his side smashing five past Burnley at the Etihad for the fourth successive season.
Riyad Mahrez scored a hat-trick, his first in a City shirt, as the club played for a third time in a week.
The condensed fixture schedule has caused plenty of debate but is vindicative of the times as games are crammed in.
But that, coupled with the lack of fan support in stadiums has taken its toll on the players according to Guardiola.
“The problem is the players lose the joy of playing football,” he told reporters.
“Before it was nice playing once or twice a week with spectators. Now it’s three days and then another one. We will travel to Porto to win, then prepare against Fulham.”
City head to Porto on Tuesday ahead of playing three games in eight days.
Guardiola has seen his side endure a mixed start to the season with two defeats in their opening eight league games before Saturday’s win.
Finding the back of the net has been a problem for City who had scored just ten times in eight outings before hitting the Clarets for five.
And players will be judged on their potency with Guardiola claiming it is up to them to stake their selection claim by scoring.
“The goals help us, of course. Gabriel Jesus has to score goals. Raheem Sterling when he plays has to score,” he added.
“They have to score more goals. That is why they are here. It depends on the players, their performance on the pitch.”
Mahrez’s treble means he is now City’s top Premier League goalscorer on four while strikers Jesus has two and the injury-troubled Sergio Aguero is yet to score.
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