Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp
Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola (right) and Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp (left) are both in favour of five substitutes

Disgruntled Premier League managers could ask for the reintroduction of five substitutes this season despite the concept being rejected twice.

A growing number of managers say they are dissatisfied at the return to three for 2020-21, after five were brought in for Project Restart in June.

The Premier League is the only major competition to return to three.

Some leading managers believe the current substitution limit is contributing to injury problems.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp and Manchester City counterpart Pep Guardiola have both said the decision is partly responsible for a spate of muscular injuries across the top flight.

BBC Sport understands the matter has been put to the 20 clubs twice – and on neither occasion did the proposal get the minimum requirement of 14 clubs to support it.

On the last occasion, 11 clubs were in favour – and on Friday, West Ham boss David Moyes said he had changed his mind after initially backing the return to three substitutes.

However, Aston Villa manager Dean Smith believes the Premier League should stick to allowing the use of three substitutes.

Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live after his side’s 3-0 win at Arsenal on Sunday, Smith said: “I only made one change in the 88th minute today. For me the intensity was there from our players.

“We haven’t got the biggest squad in the world and we have to manage our players.

“I can sympathise with the teams that are in Europe but there are some big squads out there.

“I made my feelings known from the off that I thought they were right to stay with the three subs rule and now we have we started with it, we should certainly continue with it.”

Clubs have the power to bring motions forward for a vote. However, it is unlikely any club would pursue that unless they were certain of changing the current situation.

It is understood Klopp in particular feels Premier League chief executive Richard Masters should have taken the lead in driving a return to five substitutes, rather than leaving it to the clubs, who have subsequently been accused of trying to bring in a regulation that benefits them.

Another cause of angst over the weekend was scheduling of fixtures.

Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was furious at his team being chosen to play in the 12:30 GMT Saturday slot at Everton, having only returned from a Champions League game in Turkey on Thursday morning.

Similarly, Tottenham had a 12:00 GMT kick-off at West Brom on Sunday after a late Thursday Europa League tie in Bulgaria against Ludogorets.

Such issues are nothing new for Premier League bosses and stem from a league ruling that clubs should have two free days between matches – but once they have been afforded, broadcasters can choose whatever time they want for individual matches to be played.

In the case of Manchester United, BT Sport have the Saturday lunchtime slot and selected their fixture at Everton.

For Tottenham – who played four games in eight days during one week in September as they juggled the demands of three competitions – it appears they were given a lunchtime slot on Sunday because their game at West Brom did not have the same potential audience as the match between Arsenal and Aston Villa, which started at 19:00 GMT.

Both of those matches were shown on Sky Box Office.



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