They say relentless winners never take a day off.
Well, that may be true – but in Pep’s case, he’s probably somewhere shopping with Xabi Alonso, picking up some new Stone Island for the upcoming season. With that being said, it’s easiest to plan when on top and the 47-year-old must not take his eye off the ball.
While Jose Mourinho is more likely to summit Everest than a title challenge, the chasing pack are used to City now and their blistering start to last season can’t be expected to be automatic this year.
Here’s four things the Catalonian must do in the off-season.
Sign Matthijs de Ligt
While the signing of Laporte certainly makes a statement on the central defensive area for the foreseeable, de Ligt is a level above even him. And while Laporte is learning from Kompany as he goes, it said a lot that the Belgian was still invaluable during the run-in.
De Ligt will be the best centre half on the planet in a few years and is the rightful successor to Kompany. If Guardiola wants to persist playing out from the back as much as Mourinho wants to get panic-sub Fellaini into games he doesn’t belong in, then the Dutchman is the answer.
He also still lives at home with his mother, much like the majority of City’s support. No better representative on a football pitch.
Release Joe Hart into the wild
There haven’t been too many bigger goalkeeping falls from relative grace than Joe Hart’s. Once seen as England’s next David Seaman, Hart now more closely resembles Fabian Barthez during a midlife crisis.
While on loan at West Ham, Hart got out of Guardiola’s record-breaking way and proved of little harm, but getting the 31-year-old as far away from pre-season must be a priority, given the absolute mediocrity he’d bring to the sessions.
It probably doesn’t help that City have a goalkeeper in nets that’s the best footballing netminder on the planet and Pep is understandably infatuated with him. We don’t blame you sir, we do not blame you one bit.
Plan for Life After Sergio Aguero
There is absolutely no contesting that Aguero is still playing an elite level, but he has stated his intention to leave the season after next and City need to capitalised on his mentorship, while he’s still around.
Thankfully, Gabriel Jesus is knocking about, but they still need that prolific finisher who’ll grab you that many goals every season otherwise titles will be an uphill struggle compared to the cakewalk we all think they’re going to be for the next while.
Manage Expectation Levels
There’s a reason the 100-point mark was such a bizarre achievement – because it’s so hard to do.
Just remember that sides now have a better idea of how to set up against them, and Fabian Delph will no longer be playing at left-full when Benjamin Mendy returns from his Twitter antics.
City can probably win the league with 87 points next year. They don’t need to be supersonic like last season and he needs his players to know that.
His success isn’t built on a climb to greatness, it’s a persistent patience exercise in picking defensive locks. The results will come, once they don’t try and force it.