Pep Guardiola faces a stern check of his managerial philosophy because the Manchester Metropolis boss goals to overtake Premier League champions Liverpool this season.
After an additional week of relaxation as a consequence of their involvement within the latter phases of final season’s Champions League, Guardiola’s facet begin their Premier League marketing campaign with a difficult journey to Wolves on Monday.
It’s precisely the type of fixture that proved deadly to Metropolis’s hopes of retaining the title final season.
They had been crushed twice by Wolves, ultimately dropping 9 league video games and ending a large 18 factors behind Liverpool.
Guardiola is aware of Metropolis can’t afford so many surprising stumbles this season if they’re to finish Liverpool’s reign.
However the Spaniard himself would possibly must look within the mirror as he contemplates the explanations for Metropolis’s steep decline.
His incapability to repair Metropolis’s defensive issues and fixed tinkering along with his midfield and assault appeared to unfold confusion and frustration amongst his squad.
Solely Kevin De Bruyne loved a transcendent season for Metropolis and the Belgian midfield maestro couldn’t carry his crew on their lonesome.
Guardiola’s positional switches destabilised Metropolis once more of their shock Champions League quarter-final loss to Lyon in August.
Throw in Arsenal’s FA Cup semi-final win over Metropolis, through which Gunners boss Mikel Arteta out-witted his former mentor, and it’s straightforward to see why some are questioning Guardiola’s capacity to take his crew again to the highest.
Metropolis have the standard of their squad to beat anybody — as they confirmed in a Four-Zero rout of Liverpool final season – however does Guardiola have the starvation and skill to make it occur on a constant foundation?
Luring Lionel Messi from Barcelona would have boosted to Metropolis’s title prospects, however the Argentine celebrity was ultimately compelled to finish his try to reunite with former boss Guardiola.
As an alternative, Metropolis have introduced in Dutch defender Nathan Ake and Spanish winger Ferran Torres, whereas Napoli centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly reportedly stays a goal.
Guardiola insists he is not going to complain if these are his solely new signings, regardless of the heavy spending of title rivals Chelsea and Liverpool’s swoop for Bayern Munich star Thiago Alcantara.
“Since day one, since I arrived right here, I have been greater than happy with the crew and the membership does all the things to do their greatest, not only for me, however for the crew,” Guardiola mentioned.
“What will occur goes to occur. If now we have to stick with the gamers (now we have) I will be pleased, or if now we have to maneuver somebody (on) – as a result of typically it’s the participant that decides to go away.
“I’ve by no means earlier than, or sooner or later will I complain. I am fortunate to have these gamers and be on this membership.”
Metropolis’s failure to switch Vincent Kompany final yr proved vastly detrimental and his absence was compounded by a long-term harm to Aymeric Laporte.
Metropolis’s title defence faltered early on and so they had been by no means in a position to produce a robust problem to Liverpool.
With Laporte an unlikely starter at Molineux, having solely returned to coaching on Friday following a optimistic Covid-19 check earlier this month, former Bournemouth defender Ake appears sure to make his debut, whereas Torres can be in rivalry.
“Up to now actually, it’s actually good. What now we have to do, all of the gamers and employees, and all of the folks shut, is to assist them to settle as shortly as potential,” Guardiola mentioned.
“And a very powerful factor is they’re two good folks and it is good to have them with us.”
Metropolis’s report goalscorer Sergio Aguero continues to be recovering from the knee surgical procedure that has sidelined him since June and may very well be two months away from a return.