If you didn’t know any better, you’d assume Pep Guardiola is purposefully making things tough for himself.
Or, despite having renewed his contract with Manchester City a few months ago, he may be suffering from a seven-year itch. Maybe he’s simply trying to liven up the marriage and keep it from becoming stale.
Guardiola celebrated a great comeback – 2-0 down, 4-2 up – against Spurs little over a week ago with a scattergun verbal attack on all and everybody. Players, supporters, and staff were all present. Everyone was smug.
If we keep playing like this, Arsenal will ‘destroy’ us, Pep remarked after what appeared to most of us at the Etihad to be a fairly impressive comeback. Pep agreed that one player was outstanding that night… “However, Riyad Mahrez, what a player!” He was on vacation before to the World Cup.
Give with one hand, take with the other. Guardiola, particularly in recent years, has not been reluctant to single out players for criticism. Kalvin Phillips once reveled in the moniker ‘Yorkshire Pirlo,’ but Pep quickly dubbed him a Yorkshire pudding.
Every time Phillips warms up as a replacement, he is reminded of his manager’s ‘overweight’ remarks. Comments regarding some of his players’ body language appeared to be directed at Phil Foden, who hasn’t exactly been the flavor of the month lately.
Guardiola is always courteous to his players after they leave, and quite a number have left in the last eight months. Chelsea signed Raheem Sterling, Arsenal signed Gabriel Jesus and Oleskandr Zinchenko, while Bayern Munich has signed Joao Cancelo.
“He needs to play to be happy,” Guardiola said of Cancelo, who has been one of the Premier League’s standout performers in recent seasons. “We decided to let him travel to Munich,” he said flatly.
Chelsea’s transfer window pyrotechnics dominated the transfer window conversation to the point that Cancelo’s exit for the Bundesliga only raised eyebrows. Jaws should have fallen.
Cancelo may have been irritated by his absence from recent starting lineups, but so what? You should wait until the summer to sell him. It’s not like he’d put down his tools.