Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Why City Can Cope If Pep Says Farewell

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Why City Can Cope If Pep Says Farewell

Article excerpt

CITY fought so hard to finally land their man in Pep Guardiola that they could be forgiven for refusing to countenance a time when they have to cope without him once again.

The Catalan has proven to be the final piece of the jigsaw for Sheikh Mansour's City project, taking the Blues from regular but inconsistent winners to one of the most dominant teams English football has ever seen. Conquering Europe is now the final frontier.

City were desperate to tempt Guardiola to the Premier League. The appointment of former Barcelona executives Ferran Soriano and Txiki Begiristain was crucial to convincing him to make the move to Manchester. Now he's at the Etihad Guardiola looks more relaxed than he's ever been in the dugout.

His intense personality can lead to burnout in management. He lasted four years at Barcelona before departing to New York for a sabbatical, eager to undo the rapid ageing that had hit during his stressful spell at the Nou Camp.

Life in Munich was easier for Guardiola, away from the spotlight that never eased at Barcelona, but he's finding the ideal balance at City, despite the demands of English football, with its two cup competitions and many midweek fixtures.

Guardiola had already signalled his intentions to see out the remaining two years on his contract, a run that would take him to five seasons at the club, something he hasn't achieved before. As City bask in the glow of another golden season the thought of a day coming when Guardiola isn't on the touchline at the Etihad can seem a long way away. But when the time comes for the boss to leave the club, he is already well on his way to bequeathing his successor a fine legacy.

There has always been a thought that the Abu Dhabi project at City was so focused on bringing Guardiola to the club, that it's when he leaves when it could all begin to unravel.

In the recent business done by the club there has been little sign that the long-term planning to keep the Blues at the pinnacle of English football is slowing down. …

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