After his side were able to see off Burnley 2-1 despite seeing Fernandinho sent off in the first half, you would think that Pep Guardiola would be a happy man. Yet a strange post match interview suggests all isn’t well at The Etihad.
City, who left Sergio Aguero and David Silva on the bench, struggled in a first-half during which they lost Fernandinho for a two-footed lunge on Johann Berg Gudmundsson.
Usually calm and composed on the touchline, the 45 year-old tried to hype up the City crowd before the second half, which was met with a muted response.
The hosts recovered to secure a valuable three points however, thanks to goals from Gael Clichy and substitute Aguero, a result which moved them back up to third in the Premier League.
Despite the win, Guardiola was in no mood to discuss his side’s victory.
Sarcastic and irritable, Guardiola claimed his side were being consistently punished by referees, taking a leaf out of old rival Jose Mourinho’s book.
When quizzed on the Fernandinho sending off, leaving out the likes of Sergio Aguero and David Silva as well as coping playing with ten men, his replies were very vague and evasive.
In a recent interview with NBC Guardiola expressed that he felt he was reaching the end of his coaching career, so could the City role be his last ?
Go back to the start of the season where the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager saw his men winning at a canter including a huge result at Old Trafford, Guardiola was jovial and a far happier man. His side were dominating the early proceedings and many tipped them to win the title. But now as we enter the New Year the mood has changed with Manchester City seven points off leaders Chelsea, it’s arguably the worst position Guardiola has been in, in his managerial career. At Barcelona and Munich he was fortunate to have the best players in the division and some of the world’s best, the Premier League is a different kettle of fish and it’s certainly been a learning process for him.
For some the arrival of Guardiola heralded an era of dominance for City to rival that of Sir Alex Ferguson, but this hasn’t been the case and you look at someone like Antonio Conte who has handled the move to the Premier League a lot better.
The Spaniard has been very vocal in recent weeks in regards to the style of play in England in comparison to Spain and Germany where Guardiola’s tactics have been executed brilliantly. In the Premier League the variety of styles is causing problems, one week he comes up against a free flowing Arsenal the next he’s in a battle against a more direct and defensive Burnley, it’s something which could be causing him issues in his approach.
The desperation is clear from the City chief, he’s never been under this much pressure in his managerial career; Yes he’s managed two of the biggest clubs in world football, that’s pressure in itself although given his reputation coming to England, he’s certainly being tested at this moment.
No doubt the man still is one of the best in the world although he may have envisaged a slightly more easier opening six months in the job than he has experienced so far.