How a slogan posted by Guardiola in October launched his team into history | city ​​of manchester


“NORTH“No team has won four consecutive Premier League titles… yet.” In the last fortnight, Pep Guardiola made reference to how the four-peat was the motivation for his post-triple. city ​​of manchester, insisting that this entered his consciousness only in the spring. But the aforementioned slogan, printed in capital letters and in large black letters, was the de facto motto from October, when it was first displayed in the first team meeting room.

So when he stated last week, before the important trip to Tottenham, that we “didn't think about” making history until recently, when this ignited “something in our brain,” Guardiola was using the media to remind his players that They were a tantalizing 180 minutes away from becoming, surely, the best team in the history of English football.

In the epigram was classic Guardiola, a coach who constantly devises new ways to inspire the players and himself. In late September and early October, City leaned towards the new brand after suffering two of their three league defeats. Guardiola, as usually happens in a campaign plagued by setbacks, acted.

What happened on September 23 motivated the measure: Rodri received a red card for grabbing the throat of Nottingham Forest's Morgan Gibbs-White. City's vital team was suspended for three games and all of them were lost: Carabao Cup trip to Newcastle (1-0) and league matches in Wolves (2-1) and Arsenal (1-0).

A mantra of Guardiola's is that all title fights are different and the one that has just ended has the right to be the hardest fought, with the biggest obstacle occurring near the start. This occurred after a preseason that was not without problems, since the captain, Ilkay Gündogan, leaves for Barcelona and Riyad Mahrez signed for Al Ahli for 30 million pounds. Then, after a summer tour of Japan and South Korea that included holographic images of Erling Haaland, Rodri, Jack Grealish and Kevin De Bruyne superimposed on the team bus in arrival in Tokyo, as if the city were driving through a futuristic Blade Runner-style night, and The defeat in the penalty shootout against Arsenal. at the Community Shield on August 6, 23 minutes of title defense at Burnleydisaster arrived.

Kevin De Bruyne leaves the field with a hamstring injury during City's first league match of the season at Burnley. Photo: Peter Powell/EPA

De Bruyne had to retire due to a serious hamstring problem and was replaced by Mateo Kovacic. a £25m purchase from Chelsea in Junewho had sat on the bench next to Josko Gvardiol, signed last Saturday for 77.6 million pounds from RB Leipzig. City beat Burnley 3-0 (Haaland scored two goals and Rodri one), but the final was played the following Tuesday in Athens. UEFA Super Cup final against SevillaGuardiola said De Bruyne could be ruled out until the new year.

He was. The 32-year-old wore the City shirt on January 7, when he came on in the 57th minute of the second leg. 5-0 FA Cup third round win against Huddersfield.

Deep inside the Karaiskakis stadium, Guardiola had said: “The injury is a big loss, Kevin has specific qualities. You can lose it for one or two games, but for a long time it is very difficult for us. But we have to look forward.”

Guardiola did and reaped the dividends of having nursed Phil Foden from star to first-team member, the Stockport lad replacing De Bruyne as City's schemer-in-chief. The 23-year-old's first goal of the season came against Forest on September 23 and he ultimately made it to a career-high 19 (including two in the title-clinching win against West Ham on Sunday) and eight assists, being voted like this. month the Footballer of the Year from the Football Writers Association.

Before Guardiola's intervention in October with the four-game slogan, the first crucial moment of the campaign came on July 17, when the players returned for pre-season training. This was 37 days after Rodri's goal they beat Internazionale in Istanbul and the holy grail of Champions League glory was achieved, a triumph that made Guardiola feel that “it's over, there's nothing left.”

skip past newsletter promotion

But he regrouped and on a warm summer's day at the Etihad Campus he needed to see his players' eyes and smell them, to use a favorite term of Guardiola's, if they too remained hungry. Within minutes, he knew that the treble had not dampened his ambition and he was confident that they would again “be there” when needed.

Four months later, the tests arrived precisely when they were needed. After the 6-1 victory against Bournemouth On 4 November, City failed to win the next four league games, drawing with Chelsea (4-4), Liverpool (1-1) and Spurs (3-3)and losing 1-0 at Aston Villa December 6th. This left them fourth, six points behind Arsenal, after 15 games.

Despite Haaland going down at Villa Park with a foot injury that ruled him out of five league games, the campaign would not be marred by another defeat as City went on to a brilliant 23 league unbeaten run. The coach's feeling on that first day of training in July was confirmed on the last day of the Premier League by Rodri's statement, after Arsenal finished runners-up for the second consecutive year.

Rodri's shot is blocked by Arsenal defenders at the Etihad in March. The midfielder stated that the visitors did not try to win the game. Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian

Rodri's observation echoed bewilderment at how Mikel Arteta prepared his team for the equalizer. at the Etihad Stadium on March 31, despite adding 68 points after 28 games, one more than City. If he had sent his team out to win, even if they failed, he would have sent a message that City's relentless winners would have to respect.

Instead, Rodri claimed that they realized that Arsenal were afraid of winning. Pointing to his head, he said: “The difference was here. When they faced us at the Etihad, I saw them and said: 'Ah, these guys don't want to beat us, they just want to draw.' And that mentality, I don't think we would do it the same way.”

If the 100-plus Premier League charges relating to alleged financial irregularities, which City deny, persist as potentially seismically damaging, for now Pep's boys have achieved immortality by doing what Huddersfield (1923-26), Arsenal (1931 -34), Liverpool (1981-84) and Manchester United (1998-01 and 2006-09) did not achieve it: discover the fire to start over and achieve a quadruple of championships in four consecutive golden seasons.

Source link

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.