This week during lockdown we’ve set up a league at our club where boys in age groups challenge each other to beat the keepy uppy record – keeping the ball in the air with different parts of the body but mainly the foot. It helps to get them to try to do as many as possible because they want to win the league. MORE
Team preparation key to Guardiola success
They eventually get you do Manchester City. They always have another way to hurt you, and know that, and thereby don’t let any panic seep into their game. The attacks build and build … until they get those late goals.
Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City set a new Premier League record last week with 15 victories in a row – beating a record Arsenal set just over 15 years ago. So what is it that makes this side tick?
The real key with is that they have so many points of attack, but those points are always moving, always rotating, always revolving. They work on a very sophisticated level of co-ordination so the work on the training ground with Guardiola is vital to this.
The attack is fed by the brilliant Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva feeding the mavericks of Gabriel Jesus and Sergio Aguero coupled with the stretching play of Kyle Walker – there are often seven different points of attack opposition defences have to track.
But they are not a Barcelona of the Premier League – who were possibly the finest side ever – because mobility was built around the highest-quality players: Sergio Busquets, Xavi, Andres Iniesta and of course Leo Messi. There was still an identifiable formation that could be picked out, in a way you can’t with City.
Guardiola has adapted to the lack of players of Xavi’s level, let alone Messi’s, and sought to create a system that can work independent of that.
There is something very “street football’ about a lot of these players. They’re modern and super-fit but also super-disciplined street footballers.
They don’t need to be tracking back and can afford to be selfish or over-indulgent on the ball.
It is a new way of playing that Guardiola has created.
A WINNING RECORD
On getting the winning record Guardiola said:
“In history there were amazing things like Liverpool in the 80s and [Manchester] United with Sir Alex Ferguson or Chelsea with José Mourinho, there were some amazing teams.
“But we are the first ones to win 15 in a row. If we win the title it will just be a record and this record will be broken but, of course, it will not be easy.
“Because 15 games in a row in the Premier League in this period is really complicated. Of course we were lucky in some moments and we scored in the last minutes, I remember at Bournemouth, for example. But it means a lot in the faith and desire to win again, and again and again.
“It means a lot. Once the record will be broken because records are there to be broken but for it to be the first time to make 15 wins in a row when the level is so competitive means we are strong in the head. Normally you can decrease your concentration but to do it 15 times in a row means every time we are there. I am so, so happy.”
“People have said a lot of good things about how good we play, and sometimes you can be distracted with this kind of thing but it was the opposite. [The assistant coach] Mikel Arteta came in after the warm-up and said you cannot imagine how good they did the warm-up, and that is a good thing. They were ready and that’s why we showed what we showed tonight.”