The three-time champions of Manchester City have added another trophy to their collection, but their UEFA Super Cup win over Sevilla only showed some cracks in Pep Guardiola’s team before another tough season.
Sevilla’s season got off to a bad start last week when they lost 2-1 at home to Valencia. Last year, Sevilla ended 12th in La Liga.
But the team that won the Europa League should have won another European title in Athens.
Youssef En-Nesyri’s header gave Spain the lead in the first half, but the Moroccan missed two great chances when he was one-on-one with Ederson in the second half.
Kevin De Bruyne and Bernardo Silva were both injured and couldn’t play for City, so the team lost their flair.
Since Ilkay Gundogan and Riyad Mahrez left at the end of last season, the loss of goals from the middle has been made worse by Kevin de Bruyne’s serious leg injury, which kept him out for four months.
Cole Palmer has a chance to make a mark on the first team now that Mahrez has gone to Saudi Arabia.
The player from England’s Under-21 team was named man of the match after scoring an equalizer with a header.
But after the game, Guardiola wasn’t sure that even Palmer would be on his team once the transfer window shuts on September 1.
He has been linked with a move to West Ham as a trade for Brazilian international Lucas Paqueta, who City wants to sign.
Guardiola complained that his team didn’t have enough time to get ready for the new season. He also said that a tough schedule was to blame for the number of big injuries in the top European games so early in the season.
Thibaut Courtois and Eder Militao could already be done for the season after they both hurt their anterior cruciate ligaments.
Jurrien Timber, who just joined Arsenal for £40 million ($50 million), and Tyrone Mings and Emi Buendia of Aston Villa have also been hurt in the same way.
Christopher Nkunku had to have knee surgery to fix an injury he got on a bad field in Chicago during a pre-season match.
“Look at how many knee ligament injuries there have been in all the big teams since the start of the season. Guardiola said before the Super Cup final that neither the players’ bodies nor their minds get a break.
“For the club’s benefit, they send them on pre-season tours to Asia or America, where they play hard games on bad fields. The players get hurt, or will get hurt, because they don’t have 25 days to prepare.”
City wants to be the first team to win four straight English Premier League titles.
But if they don’t get any more players, they might be too spread out in the coming months, giving the teams behind them in the Premier League hope.