Manuel Pellegrini’s exit from the Etihad come the lend of last season caused quite the divide at Manchester City.
While some were happy to see the Chilean leave following what was overall a disappointing league campaign, others felt the former Malaga manager could have considered himself hard done by.
After all, he did just secure City the League Cup and took them to the Champion’s League semi-finals for the first time in the clubs history.
More than just parting ways with Pellegrini, many in the footballing world were unhappy with the way City had gone about, naming their new manager – Pep Guardiola, the ex-Barcelona and then current Bayern Munich boss who had won near enough all there was to win in the world of domestic football – before the seasons end, leaving Pellegrini to play out his final weeks knowing he was a man doomed for the exit.
And it showed. City went on to win only three times in their next 11 games, losing five and forfeiting their feint hopes of a title challenge. Pellegrini has even since admitted the announcement was a contributing factor to City’s fall from grace after Christmas.
Despite the turn in fortunes, incoming Pep excited the City fans, and would go on to yet another League and Cup double with his Bayern side, the 5th of his short managerial career. The Sky Blue faithful were and remain hopeful that Guardiola can emulate the success he enjoyed in Spain and Germany in Manchester over the coming years.
His track record may suggest he will do so, but success is not a given for City next season. Managing the Manchester side will be the toughest challenge of Guardiola’s career to date, and one that may just prove too difficult a mountain to climb for the 45-year-old manager.
Here are THREE reasons why Guardiola was the wrong choice for City …..
Treble, Quadruple, Treble, Quadruple, Quadruple, Champions, Double. That is Pep’s managerial record over his spells at both Barcelona and Bayern Munich between 2008 and now. Impressive, isn’t it?
There is no denying his credentials, but one – if not the most important factor – to remember here is that Guardiola took both his previous jobs and walked into title ready squads.
At Barcelona – while not having enjoyed their best ever season – he still inherited an incredible group including the likes of Andres Iniesta, Xavi, Ronaldinho, Thierry Henry, Samuel Eto’o and a young Lionel Messi.
At Bayern, he came into the club on the back of Bayern’s historic treble in which they set the Bundesliga points tally record with 91 under former boss Jupp Heynckes.
City are not in that position. While still a big club, the Sky Blues are still growing and very much in a period of transition as it stands, with the many of the older players in the squad now looking elsewhere as the new generation etches its way in.
Can Guardiola get a side without the resources as his previous two to the heights of a cup and league double or even treble? I think not.
Again, if we go back to the Spaniard’s previous two clubs – Barcelona and Bayern – he employed a very similar style of football at both. Short passing, quick movement, a high defence and a high percentage of ball possession were the foundations on which both sides were built.
With the Catalonians, it was not even a style that Guardiola had built into the side himself, as he found himself fortunate to be at the helm of a club who pride themselves on teaching the younger generations to play in their famous tiki-taka style at their famous La Masia. Xavi, Busquets, Iniesta, Messi – the core of his side had already had that drilled into them from a young age.
At Bayern, it was slightly different. Yes, Guardiola can be applauded for semi-implementing a new, entertaining style of football at the German Champions considering it isn’t a style that the club was particularly renowned for at the time.
However, if you consider that many of Europe’s elite on the continent had already began to change the way they play having cottoned on to what was making Barca so successful, you paint half the picture.
Add into that a mixture of already world renown players such as Franck Ribery, Arjen Robben, Toni Kroos and Bastien Schweinsteiger to name a few, and you can pretty much paint the other half yourself.
Can Guardiola do the same at City? That particular style of football is one yet to grace the Premier League, with English clubs adopting a very different style of play to continental clubs, and hence the transition will be hard, if not impossible.
If it is to work, it almost certainly wouldn’t be still some way down the line.
City are very much a club who have built there success in recent years on their ability to bring in world class players at the drop of a hat. The Manchester club now have both the financial power and status to attract stars from all across the world, and Guardiola will only add to that.
the thought of City recruiting more players such as Kevin De Bruyne and Sergio Aguero is certainly mouth watering.
However, first of all, that tactic can only work for so long and will not bring the club success in longevity as they hope for, and secondly, if you look at Guardiola’s record of expensive transfers, it generally doesn’t bode well.
Bear in mind the previous point that he – for the first time in his career – isn’t already inheriting a world class side, the Spaniard will rely on his transfer kitty for improvement.
At Barcelona, he let go Samuel Eto’o and splashed £52million on Zlatan Ibrahimovic who left after only a year, £13million on a faltering Alexander Hleb and worst of all £18.75million on Dmytro Chygrynskiy. (who?)
At Bayern, his worst signings include Arturo Vidal for £25million who has failed to live up to the reputation he set himself at Juventus, misfiring Morrocon Medhi Benatia and £31.6million man Mario Gotye who now seems set for the Premier League.
Some good signings are to be found, for example Xabi Alonso and David Villa, but the negatives outweigh the positives and the fact of the matter is that his biggest investments didn’t work and that he was fortunate enough to have an already strong enough side to fall back on.
City have the money, but Guardiola does not have the know-how, nor the quality of his previous squad’s to keep him above water.