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Pep Guardiola

Pep Guardiola arrived at the Etihad Stadium with a peerless reputation in the world game as an innovator, a master tactician and a born leader.

Pep’s ascent from Barcelona B Head Coach to UEFA Champions League winner took place against a footballing backdrop very different to the one we find now in 2016.

Following an era where the moment of transition between defence and attack had been pinpointed as the single most decisive action in a match, allowing pragmatic, counter-attacking football to prosper, Pep showed that there was another way.

Pep won the La Liga title in three of his four seasons at the Camp Nou and lifted the UEFA Champions League twice.

In addition, the Catalan giants won the Supercopa de Espana three times, as well as twice lifting the Copa del Rey, the UEFA Super Cup and the FIFA Club World Cup.

There were eyebrows raised when he decided to take over at Bayern Munich in 2013, particularly as they had just won the Champions League and domestic treble.

Could Pep do it without Messi? Without Iniesta, Xavi and Busquets? Without his mother tongue? In another culture? In another league? How do you take over a treble-winning Bayern Munich side at the peak of its powers?

A new manager in a new country with an unfamiliar group of players who’ve won it all – far from a task of merely keeping the Bavarian juggernaut on track, Guardiola set about taking the players he had to the next level.

He made just one signing in his first transfer window, subverting the footballing trope that a manager must build from a position of strength.

Pep absorbed the best of the footballing institution that is Bayern and blended it with his own innovative tactical ideas to produce some of the best football that Germany has ever seen.

He improved his players. Champions League and World Cup-winning players. He taught them to play new positions, showed them another way to win as a collective and they loved him for it.

Seeing off the threat of Borussia Dortmund, Pep led his all-conquering Bayern to the last four of the UEFA Champions League in each of his three seasons, landing the Bundesliga three times and winning the league and cup double twice.

Guardiola made a stunning start to life at City, winning his first 11 games in charge and was twice nominated for the Premier League Manager of the Month award in August and September 2016. 

 

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