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Category: Pep Guardiola

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A Premier League season of soap opera where football felt like background music | Barney Ronay

The 2016-17 season still had its drama – moments of brilliance and booming narrative arcs to be resolved – but it was less title race than well-ordered title jog

Farewell, then, to the year that almost was. This was a Premier League season that sparked with a controlled excitement, never quite caught fire but still dished up another digestible slice of high-end product.

Things kept on almost happening. Leicester City almost completed the most dramatic title-plus-relegation act of all time. But then it was all sort of OK. Marco Silva almost pulled off a minor managerial miracle – but somehow not quite. To great fanfare Tottenham Hotspur pulled to within one victory of being quite close to creeping up on Chelsea’s shoulder at the top – almost but not quite, leaving for the third season in a row not so much a title race as a well-ordered title jog.

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A Premier League season of soap opera where football felt like background music | Barney Ronay

The 2016-17 season still had its drama – moments of brilliance and booming narrative arcs to be resolved – but it was less title race than well-ordered title jog

Farewell, then, to the year that almost was. This was a Premier League season that sparked with a controlled excitement, never quite caught fire but still dished up another digestible slice of high-end product.

Things kept on almost happening. Leicester City almost completed the most dramatic title-plus-relegation act of all time. But then it was all sort of OK. Marco Silva almost pulled off a minor managerial miracle – but somehow not quite. To great fanfare Tottenham Hotspur pulled to within one victory of being quite close to creeping up on Chelsea’s shoulder at the top – almost but not quite, leaving for the third season in a row not so much a title race as a well-ordered title jog.

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Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City: what missing Champions League would mean

We examine why the three clubs’ Premier League fate has gone to the wire and what the impact on each would be if they finish outside the top four

P 37 Pts 72 GD +31

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Pep Guardiola has no need to worry – City are nothing like Bayern or Barcelona

When Manchester City’s manager claimed he would have been sacked by Barcelona or Bayern by now, it was hard to know whether he was bragging, complaining or merely being disingenuous

“It’s not done, but we are nearly there,” Pep Guardiola said after Manchester City’s last home win of the season. “It’s in our hands to finish third. We are going to play Watford and win the game. [Even if we lose] Arsenal will have to score five or six against Everton to get past us.”

Most of the season’s issues have been settled as the final weekend approaches, there will be no last day relegation escapes and the top and runners-up spots have been known for a while. There is mild interest at Stamford Bridge over whether Chelsea can manage a 30th victory of the season to break the Premier League record of 29 set in each of José Mourinho’s first two seasons at the club, and the race for third and fourth place has resolved itself into a question of whether City and Liverpool can hold their nerve and pick up the necessary points against lower half of the table opponents in Watford and Middlesbrough respectively.

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Pep Guardiola has no need to worry – City are nothing like Bayern or Barcelona

When Manchester City’s manager claimed he would have been sacked by Barcelona or Bayern by now, it was hard to know whether he was bragging, complaining or merely being disingenuous

“It’s not done, but we are nearly there,” Pep Guardiola said after Manchester City’s last home win of the season. “It’s in our hands to finish third. We are going to play Watford and win the game. [Even if we lose] Arsenal will have to score five or six against Everton to get past us.”

Most of the season’s issues have been settled as the final weekend approaches, there will be no last day relegation escapes and the top and runners-up spots have been known for a while. There is mild interest at Stamford Bridge over whether Chelsea can manage a 30th victory of the season to break the Premier League record of 29 set in each of José Mourinho’s first two seasons at the club, and the race for third and fourth place has resolved itself into a question of whether City and Liverpool can hold their nerve and pick up the necessary points against lower half of the table opponents in Watford and Middlesbrough respectively.

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Pep Guardiola: Barcelona and Bayern Munich would have sacked me – video

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola admits he probably would have been sacked by Barcelona or Bayern Munich, his two previous clubs, had he failed to win a trophy. ‘In my situation in a big club, I’m sacked. I am out. Sure, definitely,’ he says before City’s Tuesday game against West Bromwich Albion. Guardiola’s side failed to mount a title challenge in his first season at the Etihad and will end the year without any silverware

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Barcelona and Bayern Munich would have sacked me, says Pep Guardiola

• Manchester City manager says he would have lost his job by now at old clubs
• Guardiola rejects idea that some Premier League teams are on ‘holiday’

Pep Guardiola has admitted Barcelona and Bayern Munich would have sacked him if he had achieved similar results to those of his disappointing first season at Manchester City.

Guardiola won the Spanish and German titles in his first seasons at both Barça and Bayern but can finish no higher than third with City. He will end the campaign without a trophy after City were eliminated from the Champions League last 16, two stages earlier than last season when Manuel Pellegrini was in charge. Guardiola’s team host West Bromwich Albion on Tuesday night knowing wins against Tony Pulis’s side and at Watford on the final day will enable City to finish third.

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Barcelona and Bayern Munich would have sacked me, says Pep Guardiola

• Manchester City manager says he would have lost his job by now at old clubs
• Guardiola rejects idea that some Premier League teams are on ‘holiday’

Pep Guardiola has admitted Barcelona and Bayern Munich would have sacked him if he had achieved similar results to those of his disappointing first season at Manchester City.

Guardiola won the Spanish and German titles in his first seasons at both Barça and Bayern but can finish no higher than third with City. He will end the campaign without a trophy after City were eliminated from the Champions League last 16, two stages earlier than last season when Manuel Pellegrini was in charge. Guardiola’s team host West Bromwich Albion on Tuesday night knowing wins against Tony Pulis’s side and at Watford on the final day will enable City to finish third.

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Manchester City to offer Yaya Touré new deal to extend stay at Etihad

• 34-year-old Ivorian would feature in eighth season at City if he accepts deal
• Outgoing defender Zabaleta to be honoured following West Bromwich match

Yaya Touré is likely to be offered a new contract by Manchester City, though the club is unsure if he will accept. The midfielder, who turned 34 on Saturday, is currently employed on terms that expire in the close season. Yet after fighting his way back into Pep Guardiola’s first-team plans it is understood the manager and Txiki Begiristain, City’s sporting director, think Touré should be given the chance to extend his stay.

If the Ivorian accepts he will play into an eighth year at City, having joined from Barcelona for £24m in 2010. Earlier in the season Guardiola excluded Touré due to comments made by his agent, Dimitri Seluk, about the Catalan manager. However, he was reinstated after Touré apologised in November; since then he has made 28 appearances and scored six times.

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Pep Guardiola: “The referee was so brave to interpret a good rule.” – video

Pep Guardiola and Craig Shakespeare speak after Manchester CIty’s 2-1 home win against Leicester. Guardiola says that he realised Riyad Mahrez had touched his penalty twice because of his goalkeeper Willy Caballero’s reaction. He also asserts that the rule is the same in golf, and that referee Robert Madley was “brave” to make the call.

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Manchester City seeking back-up despite Vincent Kompany’s sparkling return

• Kompany stars in defeat of Crystal Palace but City need to ‘cover our backs’
• Pep Guardiola insists: ‘We have to have back-up if something happens’

Pep Guardiola has admitted Manchester City cannot rely on Vincent Kompany’s fitness and will have to buy at least one central defender in the summer to “cover our backs”.

Kompany again performed impressively in the 5-0 thrashing of Crystal Palace at the Etihad on Saturday. It was a sixth game in a row without breaking down for the City captain, who has been plagued with injuries over the past few seasons.

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Manchester City seeking back-up despite Vincent Kompany’s sparkling return

• Kompany stars in defeat of Crystal Palace but City need to ‘cover our backs’
• Pep Guardiola insists: ‘We have to have back-up if something happens’

Pep Guardiola has admitted Manchester City cannot rely on Vincent Kompany’s fitness and will have to buy at least one central defender in the summer to “cover our backs”.

Kompany again performed impressively in the 5-0 thrashing of Crystal Palace at the Etihad on Saturday. It was a sixth game in a row without breaking down for the City captain, who has been plagued with injuries over the past few seasons.

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Manchester City taking time to adjust to Guardiola’s methods, says Kompany

• Defender confident of securing Champions League place for 2017-18
• ‘Sometimes exceptional seasons are built on seasons like this’

Vincent Kompany has admitted Manchester City’s players have taken time to adapt to Pep Guardiola’s approach since his arrival last summer but backed them to end the season strongly and secure Champions League qualification for the eighth consecutive season.

Gabriel Jesus’s equaliser five minutes from time against Middlesbrough on Sunday maintained City’s slender one-point lead over Manchester United in fifth spot, with Guardiola’s side also level on points and goal difference with third-placed Liverpool as the season reaches its climax.

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Guardiola and Mourinho cannot hide grim reality of Manchester clubs | Paul Wilson

Latest derby was a stark reminder that the big beasts of the north-west are currently fighting over scraps while the London clubs watch from above

All those complaining that Thursday’s Manchester derby was not a patch on the previous week’s el clásico completely miss the point. In terms of quality the Manchester derby is currently no better than the Merseyside version and it is rapidly becoming as irrelevant. If the Premier League does have a derby to stand comparison with the best Spain can offer, at the moment it would have to be the London rivalry between Chelsea and Spurs, whose FA Cup semi-final was both an entertaining game and, as Antonio Conte said, a great advert for English football.

Related: Jürgen Klopp dismisses José Mourinho’s ‘unfair fight’ complaint

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Manchester derby: Mourinho questions Agüero after Fellaini red card – video

Manchester United manager José Mourinho questions Manchester City’s Sergio Agüero after Marouane Fellaini’s red card during the Premier League clash between the two sides on Thursday. The United midfielder was sent off for a head-butt in a goalless derby and Mourinho feels that Agüero’s reaction to the incident played some part the referee’s decision to send Fellaini off

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José Mourinho claims Sergio Agüero overreacted for Fellaini red card

• Manchester United’s Fellaini sent off for head-butt on City’s Agüero
• Mourinho: ‘Agüero has no broken nose, no broken head, face nice as always’

José Mourinho questioned Sergio Agüero’s role in Marouane Fellaini’s red card after the Manchester United midfielder was sent off for a head-butt in a goalless derby.

Fellaini had been booked for impeding Agüero and after chasing him down, again fouled the striker. Martin Atkinson blew for a foul and Fellaini approached Agüero, appearing to make the first movement towards him before he fell to the ground clutching his face. Mourinho admitted Fellaini had given Atkinson “a chance” to send him off but suggested Agüero’s reaction had contributed to the dismissal.

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Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City hark back to Pellegrini era for bruising derby | Barney Ronay

Manuel Pellegrini’s old players, a collection Guardiola has spent most of the season trying to move on from, were to the fore with the endgame on the line

At times during a frazzled, occasionally surly first season Pep Guardiola has looked a little culture-shocked, a man chafing at the edge of things. It has been an uncomfortable embrace, with a sense of a man half-in half-out of the door, pretending to like the tea, smiling politely, but still vaguely scandalised by the raggedness, the physicality, the lack of order.

Well, this was a bit more like it. On a tight, bruising night at the Etihad Stadium, with the season’s endgame on the line, Guardiola oversaw what must be the least Pep-ish Manchester City performance of his short time here.

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Manchester City 0-0 Manchester United: five talking points from the Etihad | Jamie Jackson

The derby proved a fine night for the Manchester sides in the race for the Champions League, but it is also abundantly clear where both teams need to reinforce before next season

This draw suits Manchester City and Manchester United as it moved them a point closer to Liverpool and will allow each to overtake Jürgen Klopp’s side in the race for a Champions League berth if they win their game in hand. José Mourinho had said: “Our mentality now is to try to forget what is waiting for us and concentrate on this game. I don’t deny the Europa League is our main target but we have to forget about it.” This was a reference to the fact that winning the second tier European club competition gives access to the Champions League. It may also have been cute managerial speak as United emerged with their Premier League unbeaten run stretched to 24 matches and carrying the look of a side moving in the right direction. In what has become a trying debut season in English football Pep Guardiola should also be relieved his team did not lose.

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Pep Guardiola says Manchester City could adapt to Europa League

• City can go third with win over Manchester United on Thursday
• Doubts over David Silva, Gabriel Jesus and Sergio Agüero for derby

Pep Guardiola has said he and Manchester City would be able to adapt to the Europa League next season, though he is still “very optimistic” they will qualify for the Champions League.

City host Manchester United in Thursday night’s derby in fourth spot, a point and a place ahead of José Mourinho’s team. A United victory would push Guardiola’s side into fifth place. The City manager twice won the Champions League in charge of Barcelona and has discussed how much he enjoys competing in it since taking over at the Etihad Stadium.

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The full-backs Manchester City should sign to help them win a trophy next season

Pep Guardiola will want to buy three or four full-backs after an underwhelming debut season in England. These are the players he should be targeting

By Martin Laurence for WhoScored?, part of the Guardian Sport Network

Pep Guardiola’s first season at Manchester City has been thoroughly disappointing. His team can no longer win any silverware after their defeat to Arsenal in the FA Cup semi-finals. They were knocked out of the Champions League at the last-16 stage, didn’t make it beyond the fourth round of the League Cup and may not finish in the top four.

Manuel Pellegrini won a trophy, took City to the semi-finals of the Champions League and secured a top-four finish in his final season with the club, so the team have clearly failed to live up to expectations under their new boss. Any other manager may have faced the chop, though Guardiola has never really been in danger, with the club accepting that the squad isn’t capable of carrying out his intense demands.

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