Guardiola reflects as Man City stand on cusp of Premier League title
Pep Guardiola insists he’s not afraid to drop key players for tactical, physical or mental reasons as Manchester City chase a historic treble. The Catalan boss boasts an all-star squad, which, in turn, requires tough decisions among the elite players at his disposal.
City host Chelsea at the Etihad Stadium this afternoon as they look to finish their home campaign with a flourish.
Trips to Brighton and Hove Albion and Brentford in the Premier League, Wembley Stadium in the FA Cup final, and Istanbul’s Ataturk Stadium in the Champions League final follow with the treble in touching distance.
Man management is a significant factor in achieving such a feat, and it’s an even bigger challenge when a coach has a wealth of talent as Guardiola does.
Sir Alex Ferguson – the only manager to have guided an English club to the treble – was a master of the craft.
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But Guardiola has made it clear that his players respect his team selections, with no one feeling they have a claim to starting every match in the season.
And he added that competition among his ranks is essential to maintain the Citizens’ untouchable performance levels.
Guardiola said: “At the beginning of the season, I went to my sport director and I said, ‘Did you sign some players, or do any of the players have a clause that they have to play 100 per cent in all the games?’
“He said to me, ‘No.’ So there is not one player we have signed who can sit with the manager and say, ‘I have to play.’
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“They have to accept my decision. Everyone accepts it. It is difficult for the players to accept that maybe they are out of form or there is a tactical decision.
“They have to know the season is so long, and everyone has opportunities. They have to be ready, and they have to fight against their mates.”
Guardiola has turned heads with decisions to rest elite squad members like Kevin De Bruyne, Bernardo Silva and Riyad Mahrez throughout the current campaign.
But his man-management skills are a somewhat underrated trait amidst his tactical genius. This season has helped them shine brightly.
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