A dud in the head: Has Guardiola forgotten the Champions League?
By apparently trying to avoid old mistakes, he made new ones: Pep Guardiola is facing his next disappointment in the Champions League. Did he once again want too much?
Manchester City “only” have to catch up 0-1 in the second leg, and maybe everything would have been different if Sergio Aguero hadn’t missed another Champions League penalty (now nine turned, four missed). And yet after these 90 minutes on Tuesday evening in the new stadium of the Tottenham Hotspur a few more fundamental questions arose.
First and foremost: Has Pep Guardiola forgotten the king’s class? The competition, which used to be his own because he won it twice in the first three years as head coach, has developed into a brain teaser that he regularly fails to master. Since triumphing in 2011, Guardiola has not reached the final with Barcelona, Bayern or ManCity, winning only three out of 15 away games in the knockout rounds and none of his last ten in the quarter-finals or semi-finals.
Guardiola’s doubles-six slowed down the offensive game – for both teams
After a 1-0 draw with the Spurs in the quarter-final first leg, Manchester City are in for the next disappointment on the biggest stage, with millions and millions flowing from Abu Dhabi for their conquest over the years. Once again, Guardiola was hard to free from complicity.
In a semi-final first leg against Bayern, Guardiola had once let the team talk him into the line-up and then lost 4-0, but last year he had so stubbornly stuck to his concept that Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool were happily blown to pieces in the quarter-final first leg. And now this: Against the Spurs, Guardiola – by his standards – chose a true wall tactic, betting on two sixes with Fernandinho and Ilkay Gündogan. This did not disturb the usual game control and slowed down the Spurs’ offensive to a large extent, but also put an extreme strain on their own.