I feel this is the correct time to post this.
It’s fair to say Pep’s taking a bit of a hammering in Manchester at the moment, with City’s 4-0 defeat away to Everton piling the pressure on the Spaniard.
I can understand some of the criticism surrounding the recent City performances and the pressure which is being heaped on him at the moment. For a manager that is one of the highest paid in the history of Football, it has not been good enough up to this point and it does not look like it will improve any time soon, especially with the visit of Mauricio Pochettino’s hugely impressive Spurs side visiting the Etihad this weekend.
But, there are reasons why this is not Guardiola’s fault. Yes, Claudio Bravo should be dropped and Pep should never have let Joe Hart go, but don’t forget that Hart’s performances for City over the last few years have not exactly been at the level expected of a title chasing side.
I also think that work on the defensive side of his philosiphy needs to be looked at, as whatever coaching he is doing (if any) is clearly not working and they look as if they might concede every time the opponent attacks at the moment. Pep has recently gone on record saying “he doesnt coach defending”, but the Premier League is an unforgiving division. If you look at all of the previous Premier League champions, they have all won it built on rock-solid defenses – Huth/Morgan, Ferdinand/Vidic, Carvalho/Terry, etc. Otamendi/Stones is not a Premier League winning center half partnership.
For a start, people are quick to forget that this is a Manchester City side who only just finished in the top 4 last year. A win away at Swansea on the last day of the season turned out to be enough to get them over the line, but for large parts of last year, it looked as if Guardiola might be joining a Europa League side.
There are huge deficiencies running through the squad, with both full back areas, a goalkeeper, center half, a proper defensive midfielder, a wide attacker and support for Aguero all required. Although the £100m+ acquisitions in the summer improved the side to a degree, there is still a huge amount of work to be done before Pep’s City side resembles something like what he had to work with at Barcelona and Bayern.
I am not saying that the board should go and sign Messi and Lewandowski, but you have to be a certain kind of player to learn Pep’s style of play and then apply it and it is clear that a lot of the current squad are not capable of doing that. How many of the current side would you say have the technical and tactical intelligence required to play in a Guardiola system? Not many. Out of the entire squad, I would say Kevin de Bruyne, David Silva, Sergio Aguero, Ilkay Gundogan, Fernandinho and John Stones (even after his recent gaffes) have the characteristics required to be a success.
It is also noticeable that the English media seem to be relishing in Pep’s recent failures. Generally, Pep Guardiola throughout his career has always been up front and honest with journalists, whilst maintaining a professional working relationship. In Spain and Germany – two countries which have fiercely biased footballing views and media – he managed to handle the press well (the Jose Mourinho outburst at Barcelona aside). However, some journalists do not even seem to be giving him a chance, with one article I read saying that Pep has “let the Premier League down” by not playing the football expected at his last two clubs. How can a manager succeed when articles like that are being written about him after 5 months of his first season in this country?
This is a guy who has changed a footballing philosophy in the Bundesliga – one of the biggest Footballing nations in the world – and succeeded, despite not winning the Champions League. He took charge of Barcelona despite only being coach of their B team for a couple of seasons and won the treble in his first year, playing football never seen before at club level. The Champions League final win over Manchester United at Wembley in 2011 was the greatest club performance ever seen. He made Messi become the global superstar he is now and promoted players such as Sergio Busquets and Pedro from the Barcelona youth ranks, whilst still winning titles at the same time.
The man is a genius and, even if he does fail at Manchester City, deserves more respect than what he’s getting from a lot of people right now.
Fraudiola? Not a chance.