The Pep Perspective

Are Manchester City fans of the glass ‘half empty’ or ‘half full’ persuasion?

On May 13th, 2012 they were encouraged to ‘…drink it in’ at 93:20 showing on the clock, as Sergio Aguero swept City to a tumultuous grand finale and a first top tier title in 44 years.

When City fans were told to '...drink it in...' they knew their glasses were full to overflowing.

When City fans were told to ‘…drink it in…’ they knew their glasses were full to overflowing.

Now, 53 months on, another Premier League crown and two League Cup trophies later, City have a man universally acknowledged as THE best manager in football at the helm.

A club – mockingly and ridiculously dismissed by knuckle-dragging Neanderthals as having ‘no history’ – is on the cusp of a glorious Guardiola-inspired era where the objective is to rule not only English football, but the European game as a whole

10 straight wins spread over three competitions, had many City fans not only feeling ‘Glad All Over’ but even a tad giddy, at the heights being scaled.

First steps - Pep is treading a new path in the Premier League & Champions League with City. It won't always be easy.

First steps – Pep is treading a new path in the Premier League & Champions League with City. It won’t always be easy.

The mischievous media went into speculative overdrive; ‘Would City lose a single game all season?’ ‘Could they win the Premier League by Easter?’ ‘Could Pep win the Champions League at his first attempt with City?’

But behind the hyperbole lay a veil of deceit woven by the pernicious press – the veneer purporting to praise and eulogize Pep – hid the dagger of true intent.

With malice aforethought, the so-called pundits were slavering at the prospect of stabbing City’s Catalan Commander-In-Chief between the shoulders, at the first sign of adversity.

Slip Up - If Fernandinho hadn't slipped Messi would not have scored Barcelona's opener.

Slip Up – If Fernandinho hadn’t slipped Messi would not have scored Barcelona’s opener.

The bile and venom has spewed out in the wake of City’s 4-0 defeat at the Nou Camp, ironically a game where master tactician Guardiola’s gameplan was actually working, even at 1-0 down, following Fernandinho’s unfortunate slip and Lionel Messi’s opening goal.

If you’re of the ‘glass half empty’ school, then City were battered by Barcelona, Claudio ‘The Clown’ Bravo is the worst keeper in City’s history (pre-supposing we have one) and Pep completely lost the plot, leaving Sergio Aguero and Vincent Kompany out of his starting line-up.

Paying the penalty - Kevin De Bruyne misses the first of City's two penalties against Everton.

Paying the penalty – Kevin De Bruyne misses the first of City’s two penalties against Everton.

The merchants of doom would also question why City don’t practice penalty-taking in training, and maintain that all would’ve been hunky dory had that nasty Guardiola not jettisoned Joe Hart with unseemly haste.

God forbid, some fans with short memories were even lamenting the lack of Yaya Toure, when first Kevin De Bruyne and then Aguero missed spot kicks against Everton.

True, Toure has never missed a penalty in City’s colours, but neither has he bust a gut or shown himself to be a ‘team player’ for the best part of two seasons…and that’s before we even mention his agent and ‘mouthpiece’ – slime-ball Dimitri Seluk!

Tarnished Toure - Yaya scored the winning penalty in the League Cup Final but he's paying the price for his repulsive agent.

Tarnished Toure – Yaya scored the winning penalty in the League Cup Final but he’s paying the price for his repulsive agent.

But for those Blues who view their vessels as 50% full, they see a team that is very much ‘work in progress’, sitting aloft the Premier League, still odds on to progress to the Champions League knockout stage, and in a strong position to take down Manchester United for a second time this season, this time in defence of City’s League Cup title.

It’s now four games without a win – shock horror – but it’s utterly laughable to say, as some of City detractors would have us believe, that Pep has somehow ‘ been found out’ and his team ‘rumbled’.

Frustrated Genius - The wheels came of Pep's master plan when Bravo was sent off in Barcelona.

Frustrated Genius – The wheels came of Pep’s master plan when Bravo was sent off in Barcelona.

For those who like a good laugh, they should go and watch ‘Dad’s Army’ in which the advice of  ‘Don’t Panic Captain Mainwaring’ from the film’s Lance Corporal Jones,  is equally well applied from Pep to the City faithful.

It was wonderful to see Pep fighting fire with a veritable inferno at his pre-match Friday press conference, when asked if he had to change his style of play now that he’s in England.

“I think about changing the way I play but the solution is not better than what I believe. In seven years I won 21 titles, three titles per year playing in that way. I am not going to change.” Cue a journalist shot down in flames.

All change - Pep was forced into a major reshuffle when Claudio Bravo saw red.

All change – Pep was forced into a major reshuffle when Claudio Bravo saw red.

With speculation surrounding the futures of Aguero and Kompany – sparked by the media itself – gathering momentum, Pep, displayed integrity and transparency when he said: “The next time you give your opinion and decide Sergio is not in my plans you can call me.

“I appreciate him as a football player and as a man. When Sergio decides to leave Manchester City it will be his decision.”

World Class - Sergio is going nowhere if Pep gets his way.

World Class – Sergio is going nowhere if Pep gets his way.

Pep reiterated Aguero was omitted at Barcelona for tactical reasons, to give City an extra midfielder. Kompany was not ‘perfectly fit’ and not even risked on the bench.

He was quick to acknowledge Bravo’s error saying; “I know from the beginning when Claudio Bravo makes a mistake, he will be on the front page…” but, tellingly, the City boss still added that Bravo’s decision to pass the ball was correct, albeit the execution was lousy.

Bravo Foxtrot Oscar - Claudio was sent off taking City's hopes of Nou Camp glory with him.

Bravo Foxtrot Oscar – Claudio was sent off taking City’s hopes of Nou Camp glory with him.

The bitter irony of the 4-0 defeat – City’s fifth consecutive, and worst numerical, loss to the Catalans in the Champions League – was that for a long period it was their best performance against Messi, Neymar, Suarez & Co.

It sounds illogical, but with Alba and Pique going off with first half injuries, it’s a contest City could and should have won.

Guardiola’s tactics were spot on, but Bravo’s dismissal – the fourth City player sent off in the five matches against Barca – kicked any realistic hopes into touch.

Knocking them in - Nolito has already scored six goals for City since his £13.8m move to the Etihad.

Knocking them in – Nolito has already scored six goals for City since his £13.8m move to the Etihad.

If lessons have been learnt, City can lay their nemesis to rest on November 1st in the return leg, but not by a similar four goal margin.

Any win would bolster City’s grip on second place in Group C, but Barcelona’s present five points and 12 goal advantage, renders thoughts of topping the table delusional.

Pep rightly plays down any notion that he was going to sweep the board in his first season in the world’s most competitive domestic league.

Gracious in defeat, but Guardiola doesn't intend to taste too many losses as he strives to make City the top club in English and European football.

Gracious in defeat, but Guardiola doesn’t intend to taste too many losses as he strives to make City the top club in English and European football.

It’s not defeatism – far from it – just pragmatism, from a man who resolutely refuses to compromise his football principles. It’s the essence of a man who is a proven winner and who knows he’ll do likewise in England.

Guardiola is refreshingly honest – staggeringly so – he doesn’t seek fatuous excuses or spin noxious tales to deflect blame.

Hot Spurs - Guardiola was quick to concede that Tottenham thoroughly deserved their 2-0 win over City.

Hot Spurs – Guardiola was quick to concede that Tottenham thoroughly deserved their 2-0 win over City.

He praised Spurs after Mauricio Pochettino’s team deservedly beat City 2-0.

Equally he recognised the worth of Ronald Koeman’s comments after Everton escaped with a 1-1 draw.

The Dutchman said City were a ‘fantastic’ team and the best he’d ever come up against in his managerial career.

And the beauty of it all is City can only get better.

Koeman compliment - Everton's boss said Pep's City were the best team he had ever played against in his entire managerial career.

Koeman compliment – Everton’s boss said Pep’s City were the best team he had ever played against in his entire managerial career.

Pep inherited a pretty pedestrian and disheartened group of players who had floundered and underachieved with Manuel Pellegrini.

He’s only had one transfer window so far but already he has injected youth, class and vibrancy in the shape of John Stones, Leroy Sane and Ilkay Gundogan, with Gabriel Jesus on the way in January.

£20m bargain - Ilkay Gundogan is already looking like a snip.

£20m bargain – Ilkay Gundogan is already looking like a snip.

Nolito’s bagged six goals and, despite the incessant sniping, Bravo will settle and prove an effective keeper in Pep’s ‘play out from the back’ style.

Raheem Sterling and Kevin De Bruyne are hitting new peaks in performance, even Aleksander Kolarov looked awesome in August and most of September, but not so much in October!

Stone the crows - John Stones can't believe he's just missed the target with a header that would have levelled the scores at 1-1 in the Nou Camp.

Stone the crows – John Stones can’t believe he’s just missed the target with a header that would have levelled the scores at 1-1 in the Nou Camp.

The defensive frailties are clear to see with a lack of pace a clear and present danger to any immediate trophy ambitions.

Sagna will be 34 years old in February, Zabaleta 32 in January, Kolarov 31 in November, whereas Clichy hit 31 last July – they won’t be at City for much longer, but it’d be too cruel to mention Dad’s Army again.

And then there’s the omnipresent topic of City’s Captain Fantastic Kompany, conceivably the best centre back in the world, but forever seemingly injured. Even if Vincent somehow regains and sustains a good level of top flight fitness, a new central defender is a must.

Casualty Kompany - will Vinny ever regain full fitness to lead City to future glories?

Casualty Kompany – will Vinny ever regain full fitness to lead City to future glories?

Pep loves to nurture young talent so the likes of Pablo Maffeo, Angelino, Tosin Adarabioyo and Cameron Humphreys-Grant will get a look in, but that won’t preclude big money signings in defence.

There’s a colloquial American phrase ‘The whole nine yards’ which loosely means ‘everything’ or the ‘full extent of something’. Pep is going the distance at City with success virtually guaranteed in his initial three-years and, who knows, hopefully much longer stay at the Etihad.

Aguero anguish - Sergio reacts to missing his sixth penalty for club and country in 2016.

Aguero anguish – Sergio reacts to missing his sixth penalty for club and country in 2016.

It could come that bit sooner if his star players master the art of penalty shooting from 12 yards – never mind nine yards – ensuring City win plenty of ‘cups’ and the glasses of all Blues are full to overflowing.

 A nice case of carry on drinking it in!

 

By David Walker

 Dedicated to a beautiful baby blue – Eva Leigh Welland who entered the world on 21st October 2016 – and her loving parents Sarah & Lee.

 

www.readbutneverred.com @ReadButNeverRed @djwskyblu

 

12 Comments

  1. October 22, 2016  8:20 pm by Doug Henshaw Reply

    I always viewed this season as a transition season as I felt we had lost our way some what over the last two seasons. I thought it take Pep at least a season to turn us round. But he has proved me wrong & done a brilliant job even though some of the squad are clearly not up to it. It's unbelievable how the media & some so called city fans are trying to stick the knife in. One guy at last week's game actually said he hadn't a clue Pep that is I told him to go give his head a shake which didnt go down well. I loved his press conference in his own way he stuck it to them good & proper.Readbutneverred.Yes Bravo was stupid but all these fan saying that wouldn't of happened with Joe have forgot he made mistakes too. What about at Chelsea a few seasons ago when he came rushing out & let Chelsea score the easiest goal ever. Give it time is what I'm saying. #inpepwetrust

    • October 22, 2016  11:22 pm by David Walker Reply

      I'm with you all the way on every point Doug. I thought Friday's press conference was an absolute belter and it just goes to show Pep may indeed be a gentleman, but he won't stand for and crap. Thanks for reading and commenting.

  2. October 22, 2016  8:30 pm by Roger Jones Reply

    I'm with you David - glass is definitely 50% full. The pro United media will always be against us, and a lot of the criticism from our own support comes, I suspect, from those who hitched their colours to the bandwagon in recent years! Pep WILL succeed at City.

    • October 22, 2016  11:25 pm by David Walker Reply

      Of course he'll succeed Roger - it's just wishful thinking from a media and press who have a huge vested interest in United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Spurs and Chelsea. I'm normally given to caution, sometimes even pessimism, but there's no way Pep won't make us multiple champions during his tenure at the Etihad. Thanks for the feedback.

  3. October 22, 2016  8:42 pm by Mark Reply

    My glass where City are concerned is always full. When we have a bad run, I always see the future as being bright blue. Like Merson said today ' someone other than City better win the leahue this season. Because it could be a while before they get a chance again, once Pep finalises his squad

    • October 22, 2016  11:32 pm by David Walker Reply

      Bloody hell - that moron Merson making sense...whatever next? He's absolutely right though, City are doing better than I had anticipated and we will be so much stronger once we can bring fresh blood and faster legs into the defence and add another really top class striker to our ranks - notwithstanding Jesus is coming in January. There's a bloody beautiful great big blue horizon ahead.

  4. October 22, 2016  8:46 pm by Pete lynch Reply

    Love this piece David. City fans who are jumping on media bandwagon really p@@@ me off! My glass definitely half full and I feel blessed to have Pep at the helm.

    • October 22, 2016  11:29 pm by David Walker Reply

      Thanks fella - give it time and all our glasses will be full to the brim - Pep is the best show in town and will be for years to come.

  5. October 22, 2016  9:20 pm by Trevor Makings Reply

    Spot on David. Great article. It may take time, there will be frustrations,but Pep will succeed , no doubt about it, and the media will choke on their bile. Lets see and hear more from the 'glass half full ' !!!

    • October 22, 2016  11:35 pm by David Walker Reply

      It's so funny isn't it that City are supposedly 'struggling' when we have every chance of being clear at the top of the Premier League tomorrow afternoon, we have a great opportunity to beat Jose's mob twice before November and we are more than capable of finally putting Barcelona to the sword on November 1st. Blimey what'll it be like when we hit form? Thanks Trev.

  6. October 22, 2016  9:44 pm by @BillGlas Reply

    Great piece. Pep's record speaks for itself, as you have so eloquently put it, David. We just knew the anti-City media would get into super gloat mode when City eventually slipped up. I thought the performance against Barca was encouraging. The daft errors cost us, but hey-ho, bring on the return leg. I've got me ticket, and I''m looking forward to it. Pep said exactly the right thing when he was talking about Sergio''s future, but we can expect more of these attempts by the hacks to undermine City at any opportunity.

    • October 22, 2016  11:38 pm by David Walker Reply

      Pep is going to make so many of these so-called journalists look absolutely stupid if they persist with their pathetic porkies about City. Guardiola is a class apart from the rest and City will get better and better and better under his leadership. Like you, I see no reason to fear Barcelona - they must've thought Christmas had come early last Wednesday night. Thanks Bill.

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