Pep Guardiola’s first season at Manchester City needs two wins at Wembley, the first against Arsenal and the second against either Chelsea or Spurs, to avoid being a trophyless debut campaign for one of the world’s most revered coaches.
After an explosive start and ten straight wins, things became more difficult as Pep started to see the flaws in his squad, which had trouble adapting to his demanding methods. In 2017, City have become a much more stable unit, despite the problems remaining there for all to see.
It’s likely that Guardiola’s City will challenge for more trophies next season, having become more used to their new manager’s techniques, but his first hasn’t been the best. And speaking to the Sunday Post, former City boss Roberto Mancini was asked about Pep.
Mancini, who ended City’s trophy drought, got them into the Champions League, and brought the Blues their first league title in decades, was respectful of Pep but shared a view some others have of his former clubs.
“I was lucky enough to experience an exceptional period with City. We won so much and played great football,” Mancio said.
“Now they have Guardiola, who I consider a good coach. But they are struggling a little and there is a reason.
“In Spain, as coach of Barcelona, he had Messi, Iniesta and a phenomenal team. Plus La Liga is always a two-horse race with Real Madrid, the only rival.
“Then he went to Germany, where Bayern Munich always wins and therefore he did not have a difficult life.
“But, in England, it is a different story because you can have as many as six Premier League clubs who can vie for the title and now there are the problems.
“Still I am a little surprised because I think that from 2012, Manchester City is the strongest.”
Do you agree with Mancini or is this a cliché point of view? Many have argued that Pep had to build that great Barça side, which it is easy to forget, had finished third the season before, 10 points behind Manuel Pellegrini’s Villarreal and 18 points behind champions Real Madrid. And what did Tata Martino do with Messi and Iniesta?
Perhaps the quotes on Bayern have more merit. Over in Germany, Guardiola did have Borussia Dortmund to contend with, but they were a declining force with clubs, including Bayern themselves, raiding their talent pool, and no other club emerged to challenge Bayern’s hegemony.