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The Dugout: Pep Guardiola’s new era at Manchester City

The 2016/17 Premier League season is fast approaching and a number of clubs will start the campaign with new managers. Fans will be expecting more from their team and here, ‘The Dugout‘ will assess whether Pep Guardiola can quickly adapt to life in the Premier League with Manchester City…

Manchester City fans have had a lot to cheer about over the past five or six years but the arrival of Pep Guardiola to The Etihad will have left supporters grinning from ear to ear since his appointment was announced on February 1. Guardiola is not just ‘the next manager’ to be tasked with getting City’s star-studded squad to achieve greatness, he is the man expected to deliver a lasting legacy along with consistent title wins – something the club have so far failed to do.

It is a new era for the club. A new badge has been unveiled and under Guardiola’s guidance, fans will be hoping to experience the most successful spell in the club’s history.

City may have won the Premier League in two of the past five seasons but they haven’t been able to really dominate English football as they will feel they should. Guardiola will be expected to bring a first title in three seasons to the club in his maiden campaign in England. But he is coming into a new league in what is poised to be the most competitive season in Premier League history. The Spaniard admits he has taken the most challenging job of his coaching career by moving to Manchester but he is focused on the task at hand and City fans are right to be excited for the upcoming season.

So what can City fans expect from Guardiola’s reign at The Etihad?

Trophies… And lots of them…

Guardiola’s reign at Manchester City will be deemed a success or failure based on the number of trophies he is able to win. He arrives in Manchester after winning 22 trophies over nine seasons with European giants FC Barcelona and Bayern Munich – an average of 2.4 per year.

FC Barcelona 2008-2012: La Liga x3, Champions League x2, Copa Del Rey x2, Supercopa de España x3, UEFA Super Cup x2 & FIFA Club World Cup x2.

Bayern Munich 2013-2016: Bundesliga x3, DFB-Pokal x2, UEFA Super Cup, FIFA Club World Cup

Critics will point to the fact that he has coached extremely talented teams in leagues where competition is limited to two or three teams competing for the title. The same critics will be suggesting the 45-year-old is not cut out for life in the Premier League but he has responded to that theory by saying: “That’s why I’m here. To prove myself.”

Only time will tell if Guardiola is able to achieve success using his possession-based tactics with this Manchester City side, but he has proven to be a natural winner as a manager and supporters will be expecting silverware. The Citizens have only failed to win a trophy in one of their last six seasons, winning two Premier League titles, two League Cups, one FA Cup and a Community Shield over that time. It has been a great few years but the new manager is expected to do build further on those achievements.

Attractive football… 

Guardiola will bring a new style of football to Manchester City. His style. After achieving great success with Barcelona and Bayern using his philosophy of possession-based, high pressing football, City can expect to see a new-look approach over the course of the 2016-17 campaign. Mauricio Pochettino has turned his Tottenham team into a real force in England by playing a similar style, so there is no doubt it can work in the Premier League. Guardiola just needs to find the right balance between beautiful football and physicality.

Speaking in his first press conference as City boss, Guardiola made it clear what he expects of his teams: “At the end what we want is so simple; when the opponent as the ball, take it back as quick as possible. When we have the ball try to move as quick possible, to create as much chances as possible. That’s all. And good team spirit. That is my target in my next life here in Manchester.”

Manuel Pellegrini was criticised for his tactical setup on several occasions during his tenure but City fans can expect the football to be a lot more attractive under Guardiola, whether they are successful or not.

Emphasis on youth…

Jose Mourinho sparked national debate in relation to his youth policy during his first Manchester United press conference. Whatever your thoughts on the new United boss, Guardiola’s success working with youngsters has been a lot more evident over his managerial career.

Having worked with Barcelona’s B team before stepping up to the senior squad, he knew all about the club’s young stars. At Bayern, he installed a new ‘tactical culture’ to the club, from the first team all the way through to the academy and the same will now be expected at The Etihad.

Guardiola moulded the likes of Lionel Messi, Sergio Busquets, Gerard Pique, Pedro and Thiago Alcantara into world-class players during his time in Barcelona. He will give players opportunities and more importantly, will be patient with them as they develop.

He has already mentioned how impressed he has been by some of the current City youngsters and they will be looking to impress when giving opportunities by the new coach: “Now I realise in a short time we are working with 9-10 players in the second team and most of them I’m really impressed with their quality.”

Composure…

Pep Guardiola is a composed man. He is not going to be able to match the likes of Antonio Conte, Slaven Bilic and Jurgen Klopp when it comes to animated touchline drama. But that doesn’t mean he is any less passionate about his job or his players.

“I need time but as soon as possible we are going to try to create team spirit,” he has said. “That is the most important thing. After you can create tactics but we have to create something special with ourselves.”

The Spanish manager will be seen issuing tactical instructions on the touchline but he will go about his job calmly and with a measured approach. He knows what he wants from his players. That will be made clear from the word ‘go’. So long as his players respond positively, Guardiola and Manchester City should be able to enjoy huge amounts of success over the next few years.

Will Pep Guardiola be an instant success at Manchester City? Can he win the Premier League at the first attempt?

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