Manchester City needs a win in the league
It is right to say that there is no harm in wanting. It is harmful to lust. There is a fine line between healthy desires and lust for something. The goal must exist and beckon from afar, but it must not subordinate all means, turning the pursuit into an agony. A dangerous line has already been crossed at PSG: the record sum for Neymar, the invitation of Ramos and Messi, the rejection of 200 million euros for Mbappe – a chain of actions in the style of a player who is ready to bet his very life on the black. And definitely lose – such are the laws of the genre.
The hosts of PSG feel very painfully that they owe themselves a victory in the Champions League, this feeling undermines the ego and controls the process, and while it will be so, the coveted triumph is possible only if the three “sevens” fall on the slot machine as a sign of coincidental favorable circumstances. “Manchester City, in this sense, seem more cold-blooded and calculating, not least because of the stability in the coaching chair where Josep Guardiola sits.
Guardiola raises champions, but not fighters
Pep generally prefers not to declare lofty goals and move through the seasons on the fly – through the class of the squad, chemistry, timely tactical and strategic reshuffling. In a word, by a set of acquired qualities – players who can be bought for money, and the game, which can be staged having a great squad, time and non-trivial ideas in their bald head. Guardiola is the ultimate top coach, but Ibrahimovic was right when he compared Barcelona’s players to studious schoolchildren.
Josep needs talented and diligent pupils, and he does not tolerate the real troublemakers in his teams, cutting off the oxygen to the “bad guys” and teaching them to obey. Foden, under Guardiola’s watch, is unlikely to become the new Gascoyne for England, and for Phil in particular this is even a good thing, but in soccer, fortunately, there are still moments in which an unbridled temper is more important than automatic interactions. That wild streak has great power over the game, which is why “distilled” teams like City are effective in measured tournaments but vulnerable in desperate cup battles.
Man City wants to climb the throne.
Guardiola has been very calm about Manchester City’s departures from the Champions League over the years. Sometimes he praised his players, sometimes he berated them, but he always remained kind and lenient. I got the impression that Pep has now come to the realization that the Champions League cannot be won only through inertia of the game and a chain of right decisions, you also need a motivational substrate. Recently, the coach of Manchester City sent such a message:
We have to win the Champions League. Then we can get world recognition. Can we do that? I do not know. However, it is worth noting that we have been trying to dominate for five seasons. Our team has always fought for the trophies, it is hard to deny.
Guardiola made a clear cause-and-effect relationship for the players: if you want world recognition, win the Champions League. Even here, however, the Catalan was diplomatic, continuing his speech with a soothing phrase, rather than the irritating one that Mourinho might have continued, or the sarcastic, sarcastic one of Klopp’s style. It feels like Pep wants to push his team, to push them in the right direction, but is well aware that the City he built himself is not ready for such methods of influence.
The matches against Atletico have exposed the City’s instability
We don’t know what Guardiola is saying behind closed doors to his team, but Manchester City looked like a team weighed down in recent Champions League matches. After tearing apart Sporting Lisbon in a half, the Citizens have scored 1 goal in three games, and Atletico, even in the minority, made us worry about the fate of a ticket to the semifinals.
Atletico’s own, but not Manchester City’s ungodly stalling of time in the closing stages betrayed a certain insecurity on the part of the Citizens and a reliance on results “at any cost”, which is contrary to Guardiola’s principles. But here, too, Pep was ready to step on his own throat for a big win, because the Champions League remains an elusive unicorn not only for City, but also for him after leaving Barcelona.
Guardiola scored his Champions League victories with the Catalan dream team, which before his arrival had a unique talent (Messi), coaches on the field (Xavi + Iniesta), and a fighting spirit (Puyol, Mascherano). Josep has organized everybody great, but in Munich and Manchester City he has not yet managed to build the strongest team in Europe, although since 2011 Zidane won the Champions League three times, Ancelotti won his third “ear”, and Klopp, Flick and Tuchel had their debut victories. Surely this is hurting the ambitious specialist who seeks world recognition and world greatness.
Man City face mental monsters ahead
After the match against Atletico, Guardiola looked more like a man of benign relief than an intoxicated winner. He paid tribute to Atletico and then opened the season with complaints. He said Manchester City’s semi-final appearance had been costly because of De Bruyne and Walker’s injuries and Fodin’s headband throughout the game:
We have big problems. We played against Liverpool three days ago and we have another game against Liverpool at Wembley. Today we will celebrate, but tomorrow several players will be examined.
You know, right? After reaching the semifinals, the coach, whose two almost-equivalent squads at his disposal, complains about injuries. Klopp, who had Nat Phillips as his main defender as of last season, chuckles into his beard. “Real Madrid played 40 minutes against Chelsea with a Vazquez-Carvajal-Alaba-Marcelo defense line and were left without left defenders before the Sevilla match, but Ancelotti praises his players and admires the team spirit.
“Manchester City may look like a conveyor belt for assembling victories with flawless team play, but character and personalities often come to the fore in crucial matches. “Real Madrid and Liverpool are acknowledged mental monsters, and in decisive matches and at the edge of the abyss they activate hidden reserves, which are usually absent in teams surrounded by hyper-care and hyper-pedestrianism. “Manchester City will have to beat both Real Madrid and Liverpool to win the Champions League, overcome their complexes and prove to everyone that the “good boys” can also fight. And come out of fights victorious.