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02-Nov-2020, 06:50 am

'If we have to stop, we stop' - Guardiola accepts football may face second coronavirus lockdown

Pep Guardiola West Ham vs Man City Premier League 2020-21

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola said football must accept its fate if lockdown extends to professional sport for a second time in England amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Prime minister Boris Johnson said on Saturday that the Premier League would be allowed to continue behind closed doors, during afour-week national lockdown that will see business such as non-essential shops close their doors, along with pubs and restaurants.

Guardiola, who was speaking after a win at Sheffield United on Saturday but before Johnson confirmed lockdownintentions, indicated it was important for football to realise it may also at some stage have to shut its doors for the greater good.

Asked whether football should be carrying on, while rules are applied differently elsewhere, Guardiola indicated it was a quandary for the sport.

"It's difficult," Guardiola said. "I know the prime minister is taking the decision because the situation is getting worse. It happened in Spain, Germany and France. Everywhere.

"So the virus is still there. Maybe people say it is stronger. I think the world of football cannot be an exception in what is happening in society.

"So if we have to play, we will play. But we don't want to be different from the rest of society when they have to close restaurants or close whatever.

"It's a position in which I am not involved. I want to be safe. I want to keep well for myself, for my family, my friends, for all England, all of the UK. But honestly I don't know."

The former Barcelona boss stressed it was important to follow advice from the government and scientists, as they wrestle to bring infection rates down.

City are due to face Olympiacos in the Champions League on Tuesday, with no indication as yet that European competition will at any point have to go on hold this season.

Guardiola is taking the coronavirus crisis seriously and many in the game maybe wrestling with their consciousnesses as lockdown, due to begin on Thursday in England, returns.

"It's not a joke. It's serious. If he says stay at home, you have to stay at home. If he says don't do this, we don't do it," Guardiola added.

"Because it'snot fair for half of the population doing what we have to do and the prime minister says this, and the rest of the people do whatever they want.

"So we have to be conscious – the reality is tough, it's difficult. If we have to stop, we are going to stop.

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