Town chief hopes Premier League and EFL listen to Pep Guardiola and bring back five substitutes rule

Town boss Nathan Jones tries to get his point across against Brentford on SaturdayTown boss Nathan Jones tries to get his point across against Brentford on Saturday
Town boss Nathan Jones tries to get his point across against Brentford on Saturday
Hatters manager reiterates his call for rule change

Luton boss Nathan Jones is hopeful that the Premier League and EFL listen to Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola's pleas to bring back the five substitutes rule this season.

Ahead of the weekend’s games, Guardiola spoke of a rise in muscle injuries, with Jones, a long-time supporter of the change, seeing full back Rhys Norrington-Davies suffer such a problem during the 3-0 defeat against Brentford, failing to reappear for the second period.

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Premier League clubs voted against continuing to permit five substitutions for the 2020-21 season in August, but when asked whether he felt the decision should be reversed, Guardiola said: "They should 100%. It is not about one club.

"In the Premier League players have 47% more muscular injuries than the previous season, due to no preparation for most of the teams and the amount of games.

"All the leagues - Germany, Spain, everywhere - allow five substitutions to protect the players, not to protect one team.

"Hopefully they can reconsider and do what the rest of the world does because we have to adjust to the pandemic situation."

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It's not just Guardiola who is in favour, with fellow top flight managers Jurgen Klopp, Frank Lampard and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer all speaking out about a change in the rules being needed.

Jones himself said: “If Pep and Klopp are speaking about them, someone might listen, but no-one’s going to listen to us.

“It’s like a lot of things, those people in authority have to make good, sane decisions.”

The main fear is that increasing the number of alterations will only benefit the top clubs who have bigger squads and better players at their disposal to change the game, but Jones wasn’t worried about that.

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He added: “All they do is to get to bring a little bit more quality on, but for the sanity of football in terms of decision-making, it may favour them that they can bring on more quality, but at the minute, it’s just repetition of games.

“What you’re having to do is eight players every single week are having to repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, and you can’t change that up.

“The game today I could have freshened the team up and alleviated 15 minutes of that game, so that they could have at least not risked injury in that final 15 minutes, those are the kind of things you can do.

“You can freshen stuff up, you can use your squad and when you have to name a certain amount of players anyway, if you have a 20, 22-man squad and you can bring five on, suddenly everyone’s involved as well.

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“For me it’s a logical decision, I don’t think it favours anyone.

"Someone like Man City can bring on five internationals instead of three, fine, but they’ve got 11 playing anyway.

“We had to make one at half time (against Brentford), so that left us with one, but it’s not just that as tactically today, if I could have had 20 today, we wouldn't have won the game.

"But what it does is, moving forward, it’s not just now, but next game, next game after that, and this is constant now until the end of April.

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“Then you’re going to throw the FA Cup in, and this is only going to get worse, as the weather’s not going to get better, pitches aren't going to get any lighter and that’s training pitches, everything.

“So for me, if anyone thinks logically, they go bang, that eases the burden on certain players.”

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