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Pep Guardiola: The Hero That Manchester City Needed and Deserved

Many would argue that City's riches has helped them buy success and they didn't have to work hard for it. Yes it's true that City spent an eye-watering sum of 448 million pounds since taking over the hot-seat in Manchester but if ONLY money could buy success in the beautiful game, then my friend, you are sadly mistaken.

Pratik Sagar | News18 Sports

Updated:March 9, 2018, 10:05 AM IST
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Pep Guardiola: The Hero That Manchester City Needed and Deserved
Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola (Image: AFP)
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New Delhi: The days are long gone when people used to quip that there is only one club in Manchester. In the past, when players touched down in the North Western city of England, they harboured aspirations of becoming a Red Devil and etch their name on the famous wall at Old Trafford. But over the past decade, with the help of a huge amount of moolah, the landscape has changed drastically and the colour blue engulfs the region more often than not.

Led by the inspirational coach and leader Pep Guardiola, Manchester City are blowing away any team that is coming in front of them and it's not just that, but the manner in which they are dispatching some of the best teams in the world has been surreal. Many wouldn't rank defeating Basel as Guardiola's one of the biggest triumphs while at helm of the Citizens, but to secure a place in the last eight of Europe's premier tournament is a more than decent achievement nonetheless.

The Citizens blanked Basel 4-0 at home in the first leg of the Round of 16 in February, a team which had beaten the likes of Manchester United and Bayern Munich at home in the past. With this latest win, City are well on course of a treble this season as they are the runaway leaders in the Premier League, last eight of the Champions League and they have already been crowned champions of the league cup (they lost to Wigan in the 5th round of FA Cup).

But what a difference one year makes in football. It was only last year that pundits and fans alike were calling for the Spanish trainer's head after City went trophy-less while rivals like Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal all brought trophies home to their respective supporters. After failing to win a Champions League with Bayern during his three-year stay with the German giants and not getting his hands on even a single piece of silverware in his first season in England, people started talking that Guardiola's x-factor got left in Barcelona along with a certain Argentine magician.

"In my career I won lots of titles and if the people say I was a disaster (in my first season at City) I can accept that. If that (to win titles) was the chairman’s expectations then we have missed – and so we have to improve. If they believe they can still do it with me, I am here. If they don’t believe it then they have to change," Guardiola had said after the end of his first season.

But now, the City fans are being rewarded for their owners not being trigger-happy, which has unfortunately become a trend with most of the clubs across the world. Manchester City are playing exhilarating football and some of the experts are even starting to call them as the best ever in the Premier League era. Whilst this may still be a rather premature thing to say — at least right now — but given the style of play and the quality of players, anything is possible.

"Between now and May, six more wins in the league and Man City have the title. They could well go on to beat two records — both set by Chelsea — for best Premier League points tally of 95 in 2005 and most goals scored at 103 in 2010. On this form even Real Madrid and Barcelona should be worried about the ultimate destiny of this season's trophy (Champions League)." England legend Alan Shearer wrote in his blog for the Sun

Many would argue that City's riches has helped them buy success and they didn't have to work hard for it. Yes it's true that City spent an eye-watering sum of 448 million pounds since taking over the hot-seat in Manchester but if ONLY money could buy success in the beautiful game, then my friend, you are sadly mistaken. Ask the likes of Liverpool and Manchester United and they would tell you such isn't the case. Money is needed by clubs to sometime build a team or add further quality to challenge the existing players but heaven knows, it just doesn't guarantee trophies.

"Some clubs spend £300, £400 million on two players. We spend it on six players. When you want to compete at the highest level, you need to spend. We accept criticism but what matters is our signings perform well and fit in at this club," Guardiola had said after the signing of Aymeric Laporte in January.

Regardless, Guardiola has assemble one of the best squads in Europe and they move like a well-oiled machine, who always seem to be in total control in whatever they are doing. In their last Premier League match against Chelsea, they enjoyed 70% possession for most parts of the game. Yes, they did that to the defending champions of the English top tier. The Spaniard has made senior players like Kun Aguero and Vincent Kompany perform with more freedom while youngsters like Kevin de Bruyne, Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sane have turned into world beaters and flying the blues flag high on all fronts.

But as the old adage goes 'don't start to count your chicken before they hatch', the same applies for Manchester City and their legendary manager knows it: "We are almost champions of the Premier League but we are not champions. That is why we have to be calm. That is the best advice I can give to my players."
| Edited by: Abhimanyu Sen
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