Pep Guardiola has finally issued a massive challenge to the players, the home crowd, and basically everyone and everything connected with Manchester City following a pulsating comeback with over Spurs tonight.
It has felt it has been coming and needed from him with Manchester City’s poor performances post the World Cup. Guardiola has upped the ante for the whole squad for the rest of the season.
The second half against Tottenham resembled the City we all know, and Guardiola’s quotes post game certainly made it feel like a big moment in our season.
Post the World Cup Manchester City’s performances have been well below the level expected from a Pep Guardiola side. It has seemed certain players have been stuck sulking and in a funk and lacking motivation and form.
Also the excuses and complaining post the World Cup and fatigue being used, feeling hard done by from poor referee decisions (not touching anymore on that subject) etc.
Whilst there are some valid reasons for the slump the time is to work through it and push on and not let it wreck the rest of the season. Every team is facing challenges this season due to the World Cup, time now for Manchester City to overcome the challenge and everything else in the way.
The hope now being Pep Guardiola’s rocket post the win over Tottenham lights a spark in the players especially, and the entire club and supporter base who no doubt will respond to Guardiola’s challenge.
Phil Foden, Kevin De Bruyne, Joao Cancelo, Bernardo Silva and Kyle Walker immediately spring to mind as players who have been anywhere from 5 to 15% off their best, and Pep saw fit to call them out.
It’s now on the players mentioned and others to respond to his call out, and show the fight and graft needed to lift to challenge an on fire Arsenal side in the second half of the season.
I do wonder if some of the line ups and tactics Guardiola has used of late have been in response to the drop off from some key players. He has hinted at it with certain players body language, so hopefully his challenge is responded to by the players mentioned and others, and the work rate demanded from all players on the pitch returns.
Pep Guardiola showed his hunger for more success this season and time key players matched his drive and respond to his call to arms.
Pep Guardiola also saw fit to call out no one coming to Rico Lewis’ aid after he was fouled and targeted by Tottenham’s midfield.
In years past Vincent Kompany, Pablo Zabaleta, Nigel De Jong, Sergio Aguero and even Olexander Zinchenko wouldn’t let it fly, now it’s time for a new leader to emerge to support young Rico Lewis in those moments, and other players to stand up for each other.
Rico Lewis has been absolutely magnificent with his performances, and what Guardiola mentioned did stand out early during tonight’s game. The whole team can respond in moments like that without going over the top, so hopefully Pep Guardiola calling it out sparks a response in the second half of the season and teams feel they can’t bully Manchester City for the rest of the season.
Pep Guardiola also felt the need to call out how comfortable the entire club has gotten with the recent success. From the players, to the staff, to the fans and everyone else in between copped the wrath from Pep in regards to this.
On the pitch the recent the teams performances have resembled the team being comfortable with their recent success, and at times the atmosphere at the Etihad has been quiet. I do feel the atmosphere is a reflection of how the team has been performing of late.
The teams has played slowed and sideways football, which makes it hard for the crowd to get into. The second half against Tottenham the atmosphere lifted as the team did.
Hopefully Pep’s rocket fires up the home fans as well for the upcoming home games, especially the next one at home to Wolves which is a massive chance to put some pressure on Arsenal leading into their game.
Going forward it seems Pep Guardiola is going to pick players who are hungry and willing to do the hard work. Rico Lewis mentioned earlier is one who does this and in tonight’s game and recently Nathan Ake is another who have lifted their games.
Same can be said for Jack Grealish who is showing his best form at City post the World Cup, and Riyad Mahrez who was absolutely outstanding against Tottenham and has been recently with Jack also.
Riyad copped a rocket from Pep early in the season and has responded, hopefully the rest of the squad do the same going forward.
You can tell the players who are hungry for more success and motivated of late and definitely against Tottenham. Erling Haaland and Julian Alvarez lifted their work rate massively in the second half and were rewarded with the first and second goals of the comeback.
John Stones is another and hopefully with Ruben Dias return from injury a legitimate leader is back to lift the team.
I’m sure Pep Guardiola’s rocket post game will divide opinion and would’ve upset some but he knows what he’s doing. He’s a serial winner & demands elite standards and time the entire club lift to the challenge, he isn’t always right but this time I feel the rocket was needed for everyone at the club.
I for one am absolutely buzzing that Pep finally stopped playing the nice guy and issued a call to arms for everyone connected to Manchester City.
The Wolves game can’t come soon enough nor can the second half of the season now. I await the response at home to Wolves which now seems like a much bigger game then it already was.