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Pep Guardiola is under huge pressure

Pep Guardiola is under huge pressure

For a man who had just beaten second place in the Bundesliga with three clear goals, Pep Guardiola did not seem thrilled with Wednesday’s breathless victory over RB Leipzig.

The most lasting image of the 6-3 victory was the Manchester City manager, who first robbed Riyad Mahrez and then Jack Grealish on the sidelines, giving a finger-pointing impression of a teacher who was disappointed with two of his more stubborn students.

What had angered Guardiola was that even though both men scored in one of the most constantly exciting matches Etihad has staged, neither of them showed much desire to trace back. “We talked at half-time about the way they should do it,” Guardiola explained. “They did not. There are fights. ”

He then turned his attention to the amount of crowd at the Etihad Stadium. “We have scored 16 goals in the last three games here,” he said. “I would like more people to come on Saturday. We get tired; Southampton are so dangerous. I invite all our people to come and see our games. ”

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Apart from the away field, which contained perhaps 30 people from what was formerly East Germany, the Etihad did not look very empty. We still play football in a pandemic.

As Kevin Parker, general manager of Manchester City’s official supporters club, said: “He’s definitely the best coach in the world, but in the nicest way I think he might have to stick to it.”

Guardiola has long been annoyed by empty seats in the Etihad, but this seemed like the reactions of a man who seems to be under self-imposed pressure. He is 50, the age at which a manager reportedly reaches his peak. Leipzig was his 300th games as manager of Manchester City and his 750th Total.

To put things in perspective, Guardiola won its first Champions League in its 41stst fight and his second in his 110th. There would have been very few walking away from Wembley in May 2011 after Manchester United were beaten by Barcelona in a final for the second time in three years, imagining Guardiola would not win it again.

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There have, of course, been domestic titles in Munich and Manchester, and no one who saw the video of Guardiola dancing with a giant Havana cigar in his mouth as City twisted the championship back from Liverpool could fail to underestimate how much it meant .

Next year, Guardiola will be the second-longest-serving manager in the club’s history. Only Les McDowall, who drove Maine Road from 1950-1963 and employed a “false nine” half a century before Guardiola used Lionel Messi in the role, would stand in front of him.

Still, Guardiola is confident enough to understand that unless the Champions League comes to Manchester — as it did not come to Munich in his time in Germany — there will be a shadow over his record.

Too much money has been spent for it to be different. His gross spending in Manchester City comes to £ 880 million. Over the course of his managerial career, the bill amounts to £ 1.3 billion. Only Jose Mourinho has spent more.

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Mourinho manages in an expensive furnished backwater. Guardiola is still at the center. He is still expected to win the big trophy, which is why the kind of defense that allowed Leipzig’s left back Angelino to run riots and Christopher Nkunku to score an almost unchallenged hat trick would send him into apoplexy.

Contrary to his urban image, Guardiola loses his temper. He had begun his leadership career in Barcelona with a similar diatribe. According to his former defender, Eric Abidal, he had taken over a page full of “egos that are resistant to change.”

His first two games yielded one point. The team was united. “You must believe in my plan,” cried Guardiola. 39 matches later they were European champions. A repeat in Manchester is too late.

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