For anyone reading the football press over the last couple of week you’d think that the second coming of Christ has finally happened and that he decided to take over the manager’s job at Manchester City.
The average publication, podcast and blogger has been salivating at how Manchester City have started the season and been queueing up to arse kiss the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager.
Now, don’t get me wrong, Pep is a very good manager, possibly the best manager in the world at the moment but the hype surrounding him is something that amuses me because of the very selective massaging of the facts.
Compare this season to last season.
|v West Brom (a) 0-3
v Chelsea (h) 3-0
v Everton (a) 0-2
v Watford (h) 2-0
v Crystal Palace (a) 0-1
v Juventus (h) 1-2 (CL)
v West Ham (h) 1-2
v Sunderland (a) 1-4 (LC)
v Tottenham (a) 4-1
v Mönchengladbach (a) 1-2 (CL)
|v Sunderland (h) 2-1
v Stoke City (a) 1-4
v West Ham (h) 3-1
v Manchester Utd (a) 1-2
v Mönchengladbach (h) 4-0 (CL)
v Bournemouth (h) 4-0
v Swansea (a) 1-2 (LC)
v Swansea (a) 1-3
v Celtic (a) 3-3 (CL)
v Tottenham (a) 2-0
- Draws and defeats are in bold.
- I have left out the 2016/17 Champions League play off games v Steaua București in which they won 6-0 on aggregate.
If you compare the start to both seasons I think it’s fair to say Pep has had an easier start than Manuel Pellegrini, if you remember that West Ham were a very good side last season!
So yes, Pep has had one defeat compared to Pellegrini’s 3 defeats at the same point in the season but Pep’s team failed to win up at Celtic who were spanked 7-0 in Barcelona.
The start to this season has been kinder compared to last season so today’s defeat away to Tottenham, who incidentally beat Pellegrini’s City last season, isn’t anything to be surprised about. It is the first real test City have had so far because it could be argued that Manchester United are still finding their feet.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking Pep. I think he is a good manager and I think Manchester City will be in the top 3 this season but the way he is being talked up is a little alarming.
If I were a Manchester City fan I would prefer a dose of realism than being spoon fed about how wonderful our manager is and how we’re unplayable because, as Spurs showed today, it just isn’t true.
Incidentally, in my opinion, if Manchester City win the league and Champions League this season it won’t prove that Pep is a great manager. Doing what Claudio Ranieri did at Leicester last season… That is the stuff of a great manager!