Opinion: Pep Guardiola is building a siege mentality at Manchester City

Why does Pep Guardiola seem to be so irritable recently?

Sure, he had his moments with other managers last season but he had generally kept himself cool and composed, both in victory and defeat. His humility and respect for opponents has earnt him leeway where other managers might not have had the self-control.

But this season has already seen him react strangely multiple times, seemingly for no conceivable reason. Guardiola seems to lose his temper far too quickly, involving himself in run-of-the-mill confrontations with players and other coaches. From his weird debacle with Nathan Redmond at the full-time whistle to his reaction to Fabian Delph’s red card against Wigan in the tunnel at half-time. And how about his personal crusade against his perceived lack of willingness from English referees to protect his players and his insistence on wearing his yellow ribbon in support of Catalonian independence – despite repeated FA warnings and now a charge?

Is Pep up to something? Is it what he describes as being ‘in the moment’ or there something bigger at play? Might Pep be attempting to build what we like to call in England a ‘siege mentality’. Us vs the world – you’re either with us or with them. It’s a pretty standard tactic for some coaches, notably Jose Mourinho during his time at Chelsea and Real Madrid but it is something the hierarchy at Manchester City have swayed away from, notably because it is not how the owners back in Abu Dhabi want to operate this football club.

It’s unlikely Guardiola will face the sack no matter what he does, even if its in conflict with the ownership, and were you to take advantage of a bonus offer at www.yourate.com, you’d find odds reflecting that on Pep being sacked any time soon.

It has its positives but obviously it doesn’t win a lot of outside support and the consequences if it fails can be devastating. Mourinho’s end at both clubs was tied to the fact that he could no longer blame anyone else: the referees, the fixture list – and eventually turned on his own players that this siege mentality was built around to protect. He described his players as dressing room ‘moles’ in Madrid and hinted at a lack of desire during his second term at Chelsea. Unsurprisingly, he found himself out of the door soon after on both occasions.

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