What can Manchester City expect from Pep Guardiola?
Manchester City have pulled off a Premier League coup by securing the services of Pep Guardiola to take their managerial reins for next season.
Here, Press Association Sport examines what the City squad can expect when the decorated ex-Barcelona boss leaves Bayern Munich this summer.
England's new rugby union coach Eddie Jones is considered one of the sport's foremost taskmasters, in a discipline that prides itself on respect, commitment and hard graft. But the uncompromising Australian admitted he was stunned by watching Guardiola in action at a recent Bayern training session. As Guardiola worked his superstar squad to the bone, Jones marvelled at the Spaniard's refusal to ease the workload amid a congested season. "I went to Bayern Munich and met Pep Guardiola. It was absolutely fascinating. I watched him taking a training session and it made me embarrassed by my coaching - he was so bloody brilliant." Guardiola's players will have no choice but to adapt to his high-octane ways.
Guardiola's relentless pressing game underscores his punishing training regime. City can expect to be challenged to become the fittest team in the Premier League. The unrivalled passing game Guardiola developed at Barcelona had Sir Alex Ferguson purring, coining the term 'carousel football' amid the head-spinning momentum. But with non-stop passing always comes non-stop moving, with Guardiola demanding all his players maintain both comfort on the ball and the ability to offer easy outlets to their team-mates when in possession.
STYLE OF PLAY
If Guardiola can transfer his famed style to the Premier League, then City's opponents could end up bamboozled. But this will be the first time the 45-year-old will have to contend with the harsh realities of football in the bleak midwinter. The Bundesliga's winter break ensures Germany's finest never have to toil in the worst of weathers and the heaviest of pitches. Spain's more temperate climes ensure that even the shortened winter break in La Liga stops contests descending into dogfights governed by torrid turf. England however, remains another matter entirely. Jurgen Klopp has struggled thus far to impose his own high-pressing style at Liverpool, amid his transition from Germany. So it may not all be plain sailing for City's much-lauded future boss.
Unquestionably Guardiola will not accept any passengers in his City revolution, and that could lead to Yaya Toure's exit. The midfielder only dominates in flashes these days and may well baulk at the incoming boss's taskmaster approach. If Toure goes immediately, then the new manager must find another linchpin midfielder, with Juventus' Paul Pogba among the most coveted in Europe. Should Ivory Coast star Toure stay, then Guardiola must find a way to keep the notoriously inconsistent midfielder's focus fixed firmly on providing match-winning turns. Throw in a defence that can implode without talisman Vincent Kompany and Guardiola will have his work cut out from the outset.