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Simply the best?

Comments Off on Simply the best? 07 January 2018

Simply the best?

I don’t know if Pep Guardiola is the best football coach in the world. His record suggests he is. His teams play the most wonderful football. His version of Barcelona was arguably the best club football team of all-time, comprising as it did a core of home-grown talent. As well as having Messi, Xavi, Iniesta, Puyol, Busquets and Pique, Guardiola was always able to supplement his great stars by buying in superstars from elsewhere. But their greatness was undoubtedly down to him.

Next, he moved to Bayern Munich where more success followed. He won the league every year he was there, inheriting and building on a fine side. Europe remained elusive. At the biggest club with the biggest resources, Guardiola delivered. The next move was to Manchester City, one of the richest clubs on the planet.

City play the most attractive football in the land, as Pep’s teams always do. Possession football in the opponents half is almost impossible unless you have the best players and that they are well coached. Manchester City have the best players and the best coach. It is said by some that you can’t buy success. I don’t agree with that. Spending money is no guarantee of certain success but it’s slightly easier than building success with a whole lot less money.

None of this is to criticise Pep. Players like Kyle Walker cost £50 million and the level of improvement in his game is evident to all. He has turned Raheem Sterling into a footballer too and a ball-playing defender like John Stones can only benefit from his presence. At Manchester City, you have the perfect situation: a great coach with unlimited money to spend. What could possibly go wrong?

I don’t think anything can or will go wrong as long as Guardiola is manager. Other managers arrive, spend money and achieve little or nothing. He arrives, spends an arm and a leg on players, inevitably including the odd dud, and then goes on to win stuff. If you run Barca, Bayern or Man City, which manager would you head hunt? It’s a no-brainer.

What I would love to see is how Guardiola would manage as a club without bottomless pockets. Rather than City, how about an Everton or even a Liverpool? Would he achieve the same beautiful football and the same results with more limited resources? I don’t think we will ever know. With someone as good as him, the top clubs will always come knocking and get their man. In any event, it’s totally subjective as to who is the best. He may well be but if he never takes on a challenge where resources are more limited subjective is how it will remain.

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