Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Players Not Pep Were at Fault for Euro Loss

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Players Not Pep Were at Fault for Euro Loss

Article excerpt

AMIDST the turmoil and doubt of his first City season, Pep Guardiola took his embryonic team to Monaco and sought to build on, rather than defend, a stunning 5-3 win from the first leg.

His apparent mantra - that attack is not just the best form of defence, but the ONLY form of defence - was put to the test.

The Blues failed that test, losing 3-1 and going out on away goals - and Guardiola's bold tactics were questioned.

Why did he only employ one defensive midfielder when his side had a two-goal lead? Why set up with five attacking players against a Monaco team that would be on the front foot from the off? Guardiola mistakes but players who re-assess approach games The fickle football jury was back in and the verdict was that Guardiola, attacking coach extraordinaire, could not organise a defensive piddle-up in a brewery.

This after a run of eight wins and two draws which had many of the same critics cooing that he had finally started to impose himself on English football.

The Catalan took no notice, of course. He listened to his trusted lieutenants, examined the errors in meticulous detail and evolved accordingly.

Last season, with his team sweeping all before them and showing no fear of anyone, they went to Anfield, intent on imposing their furiously irrepressible attacking style on Jurgen Klopp's pretenders.

It failed again, with Fernandinho over-run and Liverpool 4-1 up before anyone could draw breath and the amateur tacticians were all over it again.

made but it is his have to how they big Clearly, Pep's City were good enough to make light of any defensive shortcomings against ordinary teams, but needed more when they came up against other top sides.

Guardiola is not arrogant enough to believe he does not need to evolve and this season at Anfield was different again.

Bernardo Silva sat as deep as we have ever seen him, lining up alongside Fernandinho and afterwards Guardiola said his team had 'competed and controlled them. …

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