The former Manchester City midfielder credits the Catalan for advancing how goalkeepers are utilised and believes the tactical adjustments he made in the 2020/21 season have redefined the right-back and centre-forward roles.
Full-backs moving inside to add an extra body in midfield was a key theme of City’s Premier League triumph, which was achieved by playing without a recognised striker for much of the campaign, whilst Guardiola and Ederson have long been lauded for the Brazilian’s contribution to our free-flowing attacking style.
“We’d been successful under Pep already, but I think he slightly tweaked his philosophy to go again,” Sinclair reflected.
“He is redefining what a right-back can do. He’s redefined what a goalkeeper does in the Premier League.
“I think because we had so many problems with our strikers, he has even redefined what a centre-forward’s role is in the team.
“Joao Cancelo comes in like a holding midfielder, the rest of the defence are going into a three and you know what Ederson brings to the table with his distribution and his touch and the fact he is integral to playing through the lines.
“Going forward into the centre-forward position, Jesus is not a serial goalscorer, but he has got different roles to play with his pressing.
“His link up play and his work off the ball are important as well, with that counter-pressing being important to the way the team play.”
In a season shortened due to the COVID-19 pandemic and with City reaching at least the semi-final stage of every cup competition, it was a gruelling 2020/21 for Guardiola’s side.
We played three games a week for the majority of the campaign and, for all we retained our commitment to beautiful football, a relentless work ethic was equally as important to our success.
For Sinclair, it was City’s efforts without the ball which really stood out as we won a third Premier League title in four years.
“I watched quite a few games this season and with that counter press I described them as a school of piranhas,” added the talkSPORT pundit.
“It is not like big guys going in there physically and winning battles.
“They are all 5’8 to 5’10 going in there and having a little nibble and the next one is in behind him and before you know it they have dispossessed you and they are counter attacking.
“It is really difficult for teams to counteract that, especially when you have the hunger, the quality, the IQ level and the desire of the players, believing and trusting in the manager.”