Control freak Guardiola struggles when Man City aren’t in control

The Spaniard is chasing down a Klopp juggernaut filled with enthusiasm and personality - something he clearly lacks ...

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Pep Guardiola looks more assured under £800 worth of Stone Island coat than he does under pressure.

I don’t know if you’ve seen the Amazon-exclusive documentary that was produced about Man City’s record-breaking title race, but if you haven’t, I suggest you do.

Not to take it all too literally – it’s funded by Abu Dhabi and operates as little more than a PR exercise for their excess.

But in a few intimate moments inside changing rooms up and down England, you get a quick glance at the man himself.

So often he spouts the idea of constantly playing the way he wants them to. It’s the way of control. Which, of course, is ironic.
Because football isn’t about control, it’s about pragmatism.

In this documentary, apart from saying the word ‘guys’ an infuriating amount of times, he occasionally has to deal with turbulence. There’s little passion – just a man so obsessed with his own ideals, that he refused to bow to anything else.

This isn’t a dig at arguably the greatest football coach anyone has ever seen. He is exactly that.

Guardiola’s methodology usually stands the test of time; specifically – a lengthy 38-game campaign. If you practice one way so often, it becomes second nature to you.

But when that becomes second nature, you need to expand on the freedom your players now have to process extra information. The 48-year-old has learned the hard way that there’s a stark difference between being a manager and a coach.

Sometimes, his comfort in his own skin is his biggest downfall. To play his way takes devotion. Sometimes, when a result doesn’t go your way or the source of that conviction begins to look under pressure, the whole thing falls down.

Footballers are human beings. Well, the jury is out on Jesse Lingard, but for the most part – they are.

Sometimes you need to change your motivational approach, especially when you’re chasing another side in front of you.

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Liverpool (up until last night’s nervy 1-1 draw with Leicester) are riding a wave of euphoria – Jurgen Klopp has his style of play, but you can bet your life he makes tactical adjustments more often and raises his voice when required.

Guardiola was blessed with the greatest player to ever play the game back in Barcelona. He was outfoxed by Mourinho – a master of the dark arts – despite these riches. The fact he won Champions League titles is often spouted, but the fact he didn’t win more is what people should be identifying.

The only big ties you play in the Bundesliga are in the Champions League. He never won a Champions League at Bayern and he’s as far away achieving it at Man City.

To fall like they did to Liverpool last season in the quarter final, didn’t just knock them back on the day, but it will linger around the club for a long while yet.

The Spaniard is chasing down a Klopp juggernaut filled with enthusiasm and personality – something the non-entity of Manchester City are not. Something he clearly lacks.

City aren’t in control this year and Guardiola has no idea how to react. Just as he doesn’t in Europe when he has to adjust.

Sometimes you need more than just a mystical aura and an expensive wardrobe to appear cool under pressure.

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