Ever since Pep Guardiola joined Man City and the Premier League in the summer for the 2016/17 season, the media has constantly begged the question if his possession based, counter-attacking football will work in England. In the last weeks Man City have lost against Chelsea, Leicester, Liverpool and Everton, all convincing wins for the opposition, this has led the media to continue what they started in the summer. Every post-match interview, or press conference I see of Pep is of him defending tactics and style of play in reply to the media’s probing questions. Since the creation of the Premier League there has been an aura of superiority in English football, but if we look at international results and Champions League records this is incredibly unjustified. The seemingly age old contested adage in pubs and schools nationwide, as to whether if C.Ronaldo is better than Messi or vice-versa, has the Premier League influencing people’s opinions. The arguments of “Ronaldo has done it in the Prem”, “Messi is too small to cope in England.” All of which have no truth whatsoever. Taking nothing away from C.Ronaldo who nobody can argue isn’t an all-time great, Messi is by far more talented, and indeed could score a hat-trick on a cold, rainy, windy night in Stoke against the likes of Shawcross and Whelan. To the normal English football fan and the media, it is as if performing in the Premier League is a rites of passage for any footballer, no matter their achievements elsewhere across the globe.
Unfortunately this attitude has extended to the most talented manager of the last decade, and who can be mentioned equally alongside the likes of Sir Alex, Mourinho, Ancelotti and Hiddink. Pep is a figure in modern day football who should create excitement among fans of all clubs, and who should be welcomed to illustrate his genius in our game. Frustratingly the media has isolated the reason for the recent results directly to Pep’s tactics and ideologies, whereas other factors contribute to this poor form. You can say Pep has had near unlimited resources to bring new players, and so with their failures the blame falls on him. The signing of John Stones who is guaranteed to make a fatal error each game for £47.5million was extortionate, and failing to incorporate Nolito effectively have been the fault of Pep. Two other signings who the media and fans have been rating negatively are Claudio Bravo and Leroy Sane, Bravo firstly has failed to carry out any basic goalkeeping duties since his transfer to the Premier League, but last season he was undoubtedly one of the best keepers in the world so bad performances don’t make sense. Leroy Sane may be slightly different as he is clearly a signing for the future, and he still only holds in the region of 60 senior career appearances. I still regard him as a future Ballon D’or winner, but maybe this season Pep needs to allow time for him to settle in. Overall Pep needs to take responsibility for Man City’s league position as he is the man in charge, although it is not primarily down to his style of play or any stubbornness to change his approach.
With every interview they want Pep to acknowledge that English football is superior to the La Liga and the Bundesliga, and after getting this confession from Guardiola they will seemingly let it be. Additionally its turned out that Pep loses a game, and not Man City as a team. In my personal opinion I think all the top leagues in Europe are virtually equal, with La Liga containing the two dominant European teams with Bayern from the Bundesliga close behind. At this moment English clubs cannot cope in the Champions Leagues with these star-studded teams, but hopefully Chelsea and both resurgent Manchester clubs can compete next season. Pep’s spell at Barcelona was one of the most dominant periods in all club football, and subsequently very successful with Bayern Munchen, and even though being a Man United fan myself, I believe in his ability to bring silverware to Man City and to hopefully silence the British media. Altogether he doesn’t need to adapt to the English game, he can be successful in this country, an ultimately in the unlikelihood he fails to bring trophies to Man City we still have to respect a great yet maverick manager of our generation.