Belfast Telegraph

What is bothering Pep Guardiola at Manchester City?

Pep Guardiola was clearly frustrated after Manchester City's hard-fought 2-1 win over Burnley, delivering a series of terse interviews with various media outlets.

Here, Press Association Sport looks at would could have been bothering the City boss.

DECISIONS

Guardiola cut an unhappy figure throughout most of the game, showing his frustration with a number of decisions. Afterwards he gave away little as to what he thought about the first major talking point, the sending-off of Fernandinho, but was definitely angered Burnley's goal was allowed to stand. Guardiola felt goalkeeper Claudio Bravo was fouled and claimed rules are interpreted differently in England to the rest of the world.

PERFORMANCES

City's performances in the last three months are likely to be a source of frustration. The season began superbly with 10 successive wins but the free-flowing dynamic football of those early weeks has been seen only in patches since. To Guardiola, performances really matter, sometimes more than the result, and there has been a lethargy about some of City's play. Compound this with some defeats, and there are reasons for unhappiness.

DISCIPLINARY RECORD

Aside from the issue of whether Fernandinho deserved to be sent off or not, the four-match ban that will result from it gives Guardiola another headache. The suspensions are mounting up for City and hampering planning. Guardiola has twice in the past week, voluntarily, mentioned the fact Sergio Aguero has missed seven games for disciplinary reasons this season, as if it was on his mind. Fernandinho, who had only just returned from another three-game suspension, has now had three reds cards this season and City have had seven in total.

PRESSURE

Guardiola has said the pressure on him at City does not compare to what he faced at Barcelona, but the expectations on him at the Etihad Stadium are high. The club have invested a lot in him and he will be given time and money, but they ambitious and expect results and trophies. Some pressure Guardiola has arguably brought on himself by bringing in Bravo at the expense of Joe Hart and insisting his defenders risk errors by playing out from the back.

SQUAD

Guardiola oversaw around £170million of new signings last summer but, judging by recent performances, his squad may still not be how he wants it. He has said there are no great plans to recruit in January but did acknowledge new full-backs may be on his radar. His four senior full-backs are all in their early thirties. City have also looked vulnerable in other defensive areas.

CROWD

Guardiola tried to rally the crowd at the start of the second half, demonstrably urging them to make more noise. "We need their support," he later said. It is not the first time he has mentioned the crowd, previously saying fans should abandon their long-running booing of the Champions League anthem. For someone used to the Nou Camp, the Etihad atmosphere could frustrate him.

UNDER THE WEATHER

There could be a more simpler reason for Guardiola's tetchiness. His voice sounded husky. Perhaps he has a cold or sore throat.

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph