Pep Guardiola

Pep Guardiola is suffering for underrating the Premier League

Arguably one of the best managers in the world at the moment is Pep Guardiola. The Spanish manager was widely regarded as the man to lead Manchester City out of the woods and into some glory days. Without a doubt, some instant success was expected, considering the fact that he was handed a £200 million war chest to spend on transfers and the freedom to make as many changes to the squad as he deemed necessary.

After performing wonders for the Barcelona B side, he was selected to manage the Barcelona senior team in 2008. He proved to be a worthy choice as he successfully won the Spanish La Liga in his first three seasons as a top manager. He then transferred to Bayern Munich in 2013 and again, he won the Bundesliga in his first season with the club and in the next three consecutive seasons.

Guardiola had proved himself as one of the best managers in the game – in seven years as a manager, he had won 21 trophies. His trophy haul includes six league titles – 3 apiece for Bayern Munich and Barcelona; and two Champions League trophies for Barcelona. With the above impeccable record, you can now see why Guardiola was expected to deliver the sun in his first season at Manchester City.

So excited were Manchester City to have him, they actually announced he would be taking charge even before the season had come to an end – that announcement had some telling effects on their season, but they didn’t care – they’ve got their man.

Upon arrival at Manchester City, Pep Guardiola rang the changes. Big names such as Wilfried Bony, Samir Nasri, Joe Hart, Edin Dzeko, Eliaquim Mangala and Stevan Jovetic were either sold or sent out on loan as Guardiola sought to assert himself on the squad.

Manchester City, spent a staggering £168 million on transfers, during the summer transfer window – all transfers were sanctioned by Pep Guardiola. The likes of Gabriel Jesus, Leroy Sané, Marlos Moreno, Nolito, Ilkay Gundogan, John Stones and Claudio Bravo all came in for plenty of millions for the Citizens.

Having made all the changes he wanted and brought in the new faces he desired; we all sat back and waited for Pep Guardiola to perform his magic. It did seem like Guardiola would stroll to another league title in his first season as manager; Manchester City went on a 10-game winning streak that saw them go top of the league. However, it wasn’t going to be an easy ride for Guardiola and his group, as we would soon discover.

Pep Guardiola underestimated the Premier League

In a league which thrives on physicality and hard tackles, Pep Guardiola was quoted as saying:

“I don't train for tackles. What I want is to try to play well and score goals. What are tackles?”

It was his usual system to pass his opposition to stupor and run away with victory – this was why he sent Joe Hart on exile – citing that he wasn’t a ball-playing goalkeeper. In the Premier League this season, Manchester City have an average of 60% possession per game – the most in the league. However, that possession stat has not stopped City from conceding cheap goals and falling 12 points behind league leaders, Chelsea.

After receiving yet another heavy trashing (such as the 4-0 defeat at Everton), Pep Guardiola seeks to change his formation – Guardiola has used six different formations this season (4-1-4-1, 4-3-3, 4-2-3-1, 3-4-3, 3-4-2-1 and 3-4-3 in a diamond formation). Are we to expect more formation changes?

Pep Guardiola must adapt quickly to the Premier League and understand that there are no walkovers in England. Former Newcastle player and manager, Alan Shearer, identifies Guardiola’s biggest weakness is having underrated the Premier League. Shearer was quoted as saying:

"He's finding out it's a difficult league to play in, there are six teams that can win it and there are no walkovers.

"That's what I think is different to where he's managed before hand and it probably has been tougher than he thought it was going to be."

One of Guardiola’s players, Kevin De-Bruyne, highlighted his manager’s frustration at the English game when he said:

"I think that sometimes he must be annoyed by it. He puts so much time and energy in looking for things, where spaces might be, but then he tells us that the opponent will surely use the long ball. I think he must sometimes think, ‘Why am I doing all this work?"

Pep Guardiola must realign his craft to work in the Premier League. He must understand that the Premier League is by far the toughest league in the world and should not be underestimated or underrated for any reason. If he fails to do this, then he’ll continue to suffer.

About the Author Kingsley

I am a football/soccer connoisseur who enjoys crafting interesting articles like the one you just read.

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