Pep Guardiola satisfies his obsession with silverware once again, and proves he never wearies of winning trophies
- Pep Guardiola is a genius, a tactician, and a ‘show us your medals’ manager
- He added to his impressive haul as Manchester City won the Carabao Cup
- Now, with one trophy down, City are in search of an unprecedented quadruple
It is coming up for two years since Pep Guardiola‘s managerial nadir, a night Manchester City were humiliated in Monaco. You tend to learn a great deal about personalities in those moments and, for all the talk about styles of play, he shone a light on his true focus in the immediate aftermath.
He referenced his trophy haul from Barca and Bayern with a touch of ego. Guardiola is a genius, a tactician above all others, but he is also the ultimate ‘show us your medals’ manager.
‘I think exceptional other managers in the world sometimes don’t win titles in a season,’ he said in the face of stinging criticism after Champions League elimination. ‘That is the normal situation all around the world. The exception is my career. I’m sorry, but that is exceptional.’
Manchester City won the Carabao Cup final against Chelsea at Wembley on Sunday night
Pep Guardiola has an obsession with trophies, and is unhappy when he goes without them
Trophies, trophies, trophies. Was he wrong then? Probably not. Now – a Premier League title, two Carabao Cups and a Community Shield later – he certainly isn’t. Guardiola does not want to hear the Q word yet but he must have eyes for it.
Sunday was the 26th time he has lifted silverware in 11 years. Ferran Soriano and Txiki Begiristain lured a winning machine when they convinced Guardiola to succeed Manuel Pellegrini. No trophy is too small for the winning obsessive.
The Catalan actually attempted to play this victory down afterwards. ‘I have to say it has a lot (of significance), for the Carabao people,’ he laughed.. Everybody in that room knew kidology was at play.
He was all a bit cool but certainly was not when the outcome of this final remained uncertain. Guardiola after the event – after the tickertape, hugs and waves – was not the man who could not bear to watch the penalty shootout, looking down at his feet as Raheem Sterling thundered another chapter into his own ever-expanding book.
Forget what he might say, this meant something to Guardiola, although he was left counting the cost of injuries to Aymeric Laporte and Fernandinho, both of whom he believes will miss the next few weeks.
After taking the Carabao Cup, Manchester City are on their way to winning the quadruple
Those pieces of misfortune are actually something of the point with City. This is a trophy they respect and one they seemed desperate for, evidenced by poor Aro Muric, the exceptional 20-year-old goalkeeper, only watching on from the bench after having kept four clean sheets in five games on the way to the final.
There is wider meaning to clinching the Carabao Cup, the first time City have ever retained a title. The momentum generated helped this time last year.. ‘England is the only country you can win a trophy in February,’ Guardiola added, before channelling his inner Jose Mourinho.
‘We’ve got the Community Shield too, that’s nice. We’ve already got two titles in our basket.’ Both are serial winners and Guardiola’s edge – his relentlessness – is something City have craved ever since Sheikh Mansour took the helm. Mourinho was derided for how he viewed certain competitions yet anything that shines and sparkles is worthy to either man. When Guardiola is old, retired and reminiscing, he will revel in his medals over how they were won.
However, he knows it will be tough, especially with fixture congestion taking its toll on players
‘Winning the game is important for the enthusiasm for the next game, but this competition is demanding a lot,’ Guardiola said. ‘We demand a lot of the players, the pitches aren’t good, the weather, the (Carabao) ball is even not good.
‘We will suffer a lot for the next competitions, the FA Cup and the Champions League and Premier League. Yes, I’m happy. I’m tired, but I’m happy.’ City are tired and somewhat depleted right now, made worse for the injuries suffered at Wembley. Yet they are winning without playing particularly well, too, which must serve as some sort of fillip with 11 games to go in an absorbing title race with Liverpool.
‘We’ve got three more competitions to play for,’ Guardiola said. ‘Let’s recover the players and then concentrate on what we have to play: we play West Ham on Wednesday and then 3pm at Bournemouth. We’ll see how the players are, how tired they are.’ One thing is for certain: their manager never wearies of winning, regardless of a competition’s prestige.
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