Manchester City’s Premier League campaign is now well and truly under way. There can be no doubt that this is a big season for Pep Guardiola and his side. After listening to and reading the press analysis from the first few weeks of the season I’ve come to realise something. No matter what happens between now and next May, Pep can’t win.
After a disappointing first season in England Pep Guardiola spent the summer spending money. He identified where he felt his team needed improving and made most of his moves well before the season began. City of course have untold riches at their disposal. Their finances however, have become a stick to beat them with for fans of other teams, press and pundits alike. This is the first sign that the Manchester City boss can’t win. If his team play well then you hear ‘anyone could do that with the money he’s got’. When City slip up things are said along the lines of, ‘they should win every game with the money he’s spent’.
It’s much the same story when it comes to signings. Every English Premier League team pays grossly over inflated fees. The Manchester club have more money than most, therefore they pay more over inflated fees than most. It would appear though that every player Guardiola buys falls into one of two categories. ‘He should be good for that money’ or ‘what a waste of money’. It’s inevitable that City are criticised for paying the over inflated fee’s they have. The problem for the men from the Etihad is that the selling clubs all know they’ve got money to burn. Any player that signs for City should not be judged on his transfer fee. That goes for players of any club. Players do not set the fee on their head so it should not be incumbent on them to justify it. Neither should that responsibility lie with the manager. Pep will probably never get the credit for making a good signing. Any successful new arrival will simply be ‘living up to his transfer fee’. Again, no win for the Spaniard in charge.
Pep Guardiola arrived at Manchester City with a reputation as possibly the world’s best manager. It would seem this reputation has made him a bit of a target in England. The mastermind behind arguably the best club side of the modern era arriving in the EPL garnered a mixed response from some quarters. The blue half of Manchester were clearly delighted. Others it seems, not so much. ‘He won’t cut it in England’, ‘it’s a much harder league and he’ll get found out’. Often peddled out by those defending the Sky Sports ‘best league in the world’ propaganda. Therein lies another reason why the Catalan is up against it.
The feeling by many in the media that Pep not winning the league somehow justifies their own over-inflated opinion of the English game. Many feel Guardiola under estimated the quality in the league last season. I see it the other way around. The former Barca boss over-estimated the quality within the squad he inherited. Players who had played in the ‘world’s best league’ for years let him down, unable to adapt to a new system. Sure the manager himself made mistakes, I’m certainly not absolving him of all the blame for the trophy-less campaign. But the opinion that the English Premier League is better in quality than La Liga simply because the former Barcelona manager didn’t win it, is nonsense. Yet more reason though, to believe that the Catalan can’t win in England. Many in the media just don’t seem to want him to and seemed to enjoy his first season struggles.
So what will it take for the Manchester City manager to gain some credit? For me any domestic success, be it League or Cup, will be looked down upon by many. It will be seen as Guardiola achieving a minimum requirement. Big club managers all have pressured expectations but there certainly isn’t another manager in the Premier League in that position. So perhaps the only way Pep will get any kind of praise is to win the Champions League. Surely then the critics and those jealous of him will even grudgingly have to impart some positivity towards him.
Manchester City may well win trophies this season, they also may not. Either way, the way which their manager is viewed won’t change in my opinion. If he wins it’s because of money, if not he’s some kind of fraud. Maybe English football doesn’t deserve Pep Guardiola. I’m not sure they’ll ever let him be a winner.
What do you make of these thoughts? Let us know in the comments below!