"Hate Me if You Want": Josep Guardiola’s Philosophy

By Guest writer, Mon 11 October 2021 14:20

"Hate Me if You Want": Josep Guardiola’s PhilosophyThe king of tactics and motivation: Josep Guardiola's strength

Josep Guardiola has coached Barcelona and Bayern with great success, and in England, where many predicted his failure, he has made Manchester City the team on which live betting in UK is done, the team that everyone now fears and admires. We talk about the basic principles of work and the signature style of the Spanish specialist.

Soccer Fanatic

The same way Guardiola was a footballer, the same way he became a coach. If you look at Barcelona, Bayern, and Manchester City today, you can see with the naked eye that the Spaniard's team cannot help but be in order. He has huge demands on his players and technical staff, at times even exaggerated. Players and assistants who have played under him have said that it is normal for Guardiola, for example, to wake up the man he needs on the phone in the middle of the night to discuss tactics for the next game.

Before coming to the City, he knew practically the entire biography of each of his players, and the Spaniard's inner circle claim that he cannot be distracted from soccer even at a family dinner. Guardiola always has with him a work tablet, from which he does not break away for a minute. He is said to go overboard in his meticulousness down to the details, but the Spaniard's main principle is that every little detail is important.

And this is true not only for the Mancunians players, whom he does not fail to motivate throughout any game, even if the team is leading 5-0, and tell them about their mistakes. When Guardiola took charge of Manchester City, he demanded de facto control in all areas of club life. He forbade the players to eat fatty foods (and the cooks, respectively, to prepare them), and for those who do not comply with a strict diet, he provided for disciplinary sanctions. Not everyone can withstand such a regime, so it is not surprising that the careers of Samir Nasri and Yaya Toure ended with the arrival of Guardiola at City.

On the other hand, despite the sometimes Spartan conditions, Guardiola is incredibly kind to his charges. He demands that all the players do everything together, taking them to the cinema, putting together English classes, and throwing parties together - a real team-building exercise. The team, as he sees it, should be a family with a clear hierarchy, but where everyone will do anything for the other.

On Pure Emotion

In the APL the status of the most expressive and eccentric coach rightly belongs to the Liverpool coach Jurgen Klopp, from comparisons with Josep Guardiola there is nothing to save him. In particular, these qualities are called one of the main qualities in the work of the Scousers' coach, which help him to achieve success. The same can be said about the Manchester City manager: since the beginning of his career, he has accustomed everyone to the fact that the outward seriousness does not prevent him from pouring out his emotions on the bench during matches or in the locker room.

Last year, Amazon released a documentary series about Manchester City's championship season, and one of the episodes included an episode that revealed why Guardiola is a true motivator. The footage shows Guardiola, gathering all the players and staff in the locker room, giving a fiery speech, forcing his charges to take their professional responsibilities on the field more seriously. He does not shy away from strong language, raised tone, and personality, which surprised the public because it seemed that Guardiola was never capable of such openness. Interestingly, that match, after which the Spaniard inspired the players, they tied.

"Of course I will defend you to the very end in press conferences, but here I will only tell you the truth. Come back down to earth! Hate me if you like. Hate me, criticize me. There's no problem with that. But when we're here and the referee starts the game, show me your worth. At every practice. At every game. I didn't see the desire to win today. I didn't see that today. Tell me why I didn't see that?" - Pep asked the silent locker room.

The video subsequently went viral because it showed the Spaniard from a very different angle. But, most importantly, after watching the video, it is clear that the boss in the City locker room is exactly Guardiola. Everyone listens to him, they do not perceive him as a banal screamer but show their respect even in the look. And to put it bluntly, not everyone can make the City players afraid.

Tactical Genius

Guardiola is most often associated with Barcelona's classic style of play, with short passes and instant tackling. In these respects, when the Spaniard coached them, the Blue Granatas were the most outstanding team in the world. Now the same can be said of the City. The main principle of his work is to keep the ball on the ground. It was easier to build this at Barcelona, because the Catalan school, from which Guardiola came out, is based on this.

He later made such a technical team at Bayern, for which, to put it mildly, many people in Germany disliked him, because before his arrival the Munich side had my style.

As for Manchester City, it turns out well - two championships and all the domestic cups are more proof of that. If we turn to statistics, we can see that the Citizens are superior to everyone in the league in terms of average possession, as well as the accuracy, quantity, and quality of assists and shots. The scheme seems to be simple: attacking through short passes, overloading zones during positional attacks, and instant rebounding. Out of all this, City has become the highest-scoring team in the APL. It looks easy, but in reality, only the Mancunians can do it.

But the problem of defense, due to Guardiola's preoccupation with the attack, could not be solved. "The Citizens are not so strong in positional defense, and, given the numerous injuries to key players this season, they miss a lot. But, again, the solution to that doesn't seem realistic yet - if the City starts scoring even one less goal per game, there will be bottles flying in the locker room and furious speeches from the Spanish player.

Total Control

In the future, when Guardiola decides to end his coaching career, Europe's top clubs will be willing to give a lot for the Spaniard to take an administrative position in their project. The specialist's love for detail, and toughness in decision making, make him a potentially ideal functionary, capable of selecting players and conducting transfer policy. That’s what he does at City - at Bayern, as you may recall, he wasn't allowed to do that.

He is incredibly good at pumping up even the most average players. Under Guardiola, Raheem Sterling, who was considered one of the most capricious English footballers, reached a fundamentally new level, only after receiving a good slap from the Spaniard. The same can be said about half of the Citizens squad.

In the first seasons under Guardiola, City spent obscenely. And it did not pay off, which regularly made the coach a scapegoat. But everything, as experience has shown, takes time. Having more or less built what he wanted, Guardiola curtailed his tactic of expensive shopping, pinpointing every position he needed. Of the big purchases made by City last summer, only defender Joao Cancela and midfielder Rodri are worth mentioning. Yes, they did not cost City that much, but in terms of efficiency, they have fully justified themselves in just a few months.

One of Guardiola's main traits is that he only buys what he needs. And the club, in turn, does not tinker with his desires.

In summary, it is worth noting that the Spaniard, despite all his apparent strengths, has a lot of negative qualities. In particular, he is quite straightforward, which absolutely in each of his teams develops into a scandal with some of the leaders or iconic figures. But as long as his philosophy works, it makes no sense to talk about it.