Why Guardiola was so critical and how the City players reacted behind the scenes

“Do you assume I mentioned one thing tactical at half-time?” requested Pep Guardiola on Thursday evening inside quarter-hour of showing the whole lot that pushed him up the partitions Manchester metropolis in current weeks.

And along with his group down 2-0 spurs After fast objectives within the first half, the tactical tip finally got here – after he informed them precisely what he informed the remainder of the world full time.

Inform them they haven’t any likelihood of successful the title if issues do not change, that they’re enjoying with out ardour, and that their fireplace is out.

There was clearly a response to that – they scored 4 objectives with out reply – however it wasn’t sufficient to cease Guardiola from voicing the considerations that had been bothering him.

The turning level, based on those that knew him, was the lack of the Carabao Cup Southamptonconsidered one of Metropolis’s worst performances in his seven seasons on the membership.

He was happier with the applying of his gamers to defeat in opposition to Manchester United Three days later, however curiously sufficient, it was there, within the away dressing room at Outdated Trafford, that his gamers determined to take motion.

Ilkay Gundogan He expressed his personal considerations publicly after the Southampton match and mentioned one thing was “off”, and {that a} “particular factor” was lacking. After one other setback, albeit one with a greater really feel about it with regard to Guardiola, the gamers sat down and took turns airing grievances and giving views about issues going improper.

Guardiola delivers directions on Sunday (Image: Paul Ellis/AFP by way of Getty Photos)

And based on numerous sources near the group, the temper has begun to vary. This week, the membership captains handed a message to the membership that they want to exit for a group gathering meal quickly to try to enhance the temper even additional.

Nonetheless, Guardiola was appalled by what he noticed in that Southampton recreation, and the first-half occasions in opposition to Tottenham had been the ultimate straw: after telling his gamers in no unsure phrases that they wanted to kind issues out, he doubled down on his capability and informed the world too.

This manner, there was nowhere to cover. No optimistic headlines a couple of boisterous comeback, no sort phrases about overcoming their current malaise and placing their fears behind them, no extra ‘comfortable flowers’ – as he put it to sum up the complete membership’s present angle to life.

He needed the world to scrutinize his gamers, not simply within the second leg in opposition to them Wolves On Sunday but additionally on Arsenal recreation in FA cup This Friday evening. So after successful 3-0, because of Erling Haaland’s fourth hat-trick of the season, did issues get any higher?

Guardiola mentioned afterwards: “Issues are getting higher, however it’s simply sooner or later. I’ve to attend, I’ve to attend.”

He was requested about this response 4 occasions and every time, whereas addressing numerous variations on the identical subject, he would all the time repeat the phrases to the impact of, “At present we’re getting higher however simply immediately, we’ll see what occurs within the subsequent video games.”

There’s little level in criticizing their efficiency with out figuring out Guardiola’s requirements. Of all of the actually good issues Metropolis did in opposition to Tottenham, how many people would have singled out the gamers’ failure to confront their opponents after fouls on 18-year-old Rico Luis as the principle purpose for Guardiola’s annoyance?

Metropolis performed nicely within the first half on Sunday. They handed the ball nicely, generally straight ahead and generally switched performs shortly and precisely, and linked up with Haaland higher than they did at Outdated Trafford. Greater than the rest, they’ve performed with a better depth than in current matches, with extra “emotional” vitality. Gundogan, particularly, was all about unfastened balls.

The followers, who had been additionally criticized by the supervisor, appeared to lift their recreation as nicely.

The second half was a weary one, total, Metropolis led 3-0 with two objectives quickly after the break, clearly not a nasty factor, however after that, they’d loads of possibilities to counter-attack solely to discover a technique to screw them up. Guardiola spent plenty of time sitting on his again as Wolves raced in on the opposite finish. Thoughts you, he is been doing this for years, even when he is protected figuring out his gamers are on full gear.

After the match, he mentioned that their first half efficiency was just like the primary in opposition to Tottenham. Soccer was good then. Not their finest stage however a step in the precise route. The stand seems higher too.

Nonetheless, behind-the-scenes considerations stay. He might by no means point out it publicly, however there have been anxious conversations a couple of lack of management within the dressing room, and sources say there are traces of that in his criticisms of his gamers for failing to guard Lewis. “Fernandinho can have” a straightforward finale to provide you with.

Defeat to Southampton angered Guardiola (Image: Naomi Becker/Getty Photos)

Thought-about a really sturdy group, simply missing an enormous voice like their former captain, considered one of their very own has been wanted in current weeks.

As for the gamers’ response to Guardiola’s public feedback, there was little shock or accusation, which is not shocking given they’d been informed the identical factor to their faces beforehand – and extra importantly, most of them had labored with him a number of occasions. years.

This can be a supervisor, in spite of everything, who repeatedly exclaims, “That is it Premier League! to show up the warmth throughout a lightweight coaching session, largely involving unused substitutes, the day after final season’s win over Wolves.

It wasn’t a very brutal disembowelment of them, even when it was considerably exceptional by way of the place it was handed to the media, and the way he did it in a number of interviews.

Guardiola hasn’t let any gamers escape hazard – he mentioned “in the intervening time it is inconceivable to play nicely with out her Nathan AckHe did put him on the bench on Sunday anyway – however was cautious to level out that he had no doubts about their high quality. He even mentioned he absolutely sympathized with their struggles to maintain up with Arsenal’s motivations.

I received 4 titles in a row as a participant Barcelona(Sure, there was extra), he mentioned through the embargoed portion of his press convention Thursday. “The fifth I wasn’t the identical, the sixth I wasn’t myself. I wasn’t ravenous sufficient. (It was all) caviar.” How good am I? Madrid beat us to fifth and sixth.

“So I perceive them, however I am right here to make them do it.”

And so, on Thursday, he felt he had one final likelihood to get issues again on observe earlier than Metropolis’s season dragged too far, within the Premier League, FA Cup and FA Cup. Champions League additionally.

If his actions in current weeks have carried out something, it has shattered the phantasm that many gamers are a sure starter. And the earlier two beginning line-ups confirmed this Kyle Walker And Joao Cancelo It’s best to do extra than simply run the post-world Cup rust from their legs.

Emeric LaporteAnd Kevin De Bruyne And Bernardo Silva All of them sat in opposition to Tottenham, as did he Phil Fodenthough it grew to become clear after lacking the Wolves recreation altogether that he was affected by a foot harm.

However the result’s that hardly anybody within the squad feels comfy that they will begin the following recreation – and Guardiola likes to vary his aspect from recreation to recreation at the perfect of occasions.

The issue with groups that battle with complacency and consistency is that they’ll look good one recreation and be poor the following, so the Wolves solely gave a sure variety of solutions.

The message was taken on board – whether or not sufficient to see.

(High picture: Paul Ellis/AFP by way of Getty Photos)

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