Pep has finished the first half of the 2017/18 season in England by winning 19 and drawing 2. That didn’t happen in his time in Spain (where he had arguably the best team in history), neither did it happen in Germany. Before his arrival in England, many people who argue that the English league is only competitive because you have a group of average teams all going for the title said that Pep was going to sweep the league away in style, but that didn’t go as planned for many reasons. The most obvious was an aged squad and “time.”
When Pep said many times in his press conference last season that his team will improve in the boxes, he knew very well that his team had defensive and finishing issues. He addressed the defensive issues by bringing in Walker, Danilo, Mendy and Ederson. He solved the finishing issues tactically by improving the positional play of Sane and Sterling. What De Bruyne is doing doesn’t surprise me because everyone who watches football know his quality.
I saw a very interesting tweet which suggested that Pep hasn’t done anything extraordinary because a lot was put in place for his arrival; to make his job easy. Well before I go on, I want to ask the same question Tim Sherwood asked … “how many of Man City’s defense will get into the teams of Man United, Chelsea and Tottenham?” No way United will accept Ederson over De Gea. Mangala won’t be good enough to replace Smalling or Bailly, neither will Otamendi. Can Delph replace Davies or Alonso? The list can go on. I won’t move up the pitch because I acknowledge that Man City has some of the best midfielders and a proven finisher in Aguero. The point I’m trying to make is, Pep hasn’t assembled the modern day galacticos to achieve 19W 2D 0L.
What he has done is to adapt to the quality of the squad he met, signed those he needed (Nolito didn’t work out though), improve positional play and ball retention. When Mendy got injured, I saw Danilo as his obvious replacement but that wasn’t the case for Pep. In stepped Delph; a tactically disciplined midfielder, whose role is completely different from Mendy’s. One thing Pep does well is his desire to give his team an identity. At Barcelona & Bayern we could identify his teams because they had a style. This City team has the similar style. What’s more fascinating is, this City is no where near as strong on paper as his Bayern or Barca teams. So, to do what he’s doing, in the leagues many believe to be the most difficult in the world, is remarkable.
I don’t mind if Pep doesn’t gets the credit he deserves. I mean, he doesn’t even care really. This team hasn’t won anything yet. All he cares about is his team playing well in the next game. I appreciate good football, I love his approach to games. He’s the only reason why I took interest in the EPL last season, and he’s the reason why I support Man City. His team will get better, even with some major injuries because he’s always finding profound solutions for complicated problems and that’s why history will remember him as one of the managers who revolutionized how football should be played.