Sunday, January 17

The pragmatic Guardiola has fine-tuned the City’s balance between press and defense | Manchester city



TPrhapsTohr is not a wor. so misus. in football as pragmatic. ThTon.ncy isToo .isplay it as a synonym for .fnsiv, cautious or brav,Too opposToh attacking styl ofToh i.alists. Th coachs ar .ivi.. intoTowo groups: onToh on han.Toh pragmatic Sam Allar.yc, Tony Pulls an. Nil Warnock, an. onToh othrToh i.alists Marclo Bails, Pp Guar.iola an. Gian Piro Gasprini. But it is rarly as simpl asTohat.

Bails is prhaps a spcial cas. Th L.s coach has principls h nvr .viats from an. his family backgroun. mansTohat h may nvr hav n.. a win bonus lik othr playrs or coachs hav – h can affor.Too b principl.. But quallyToh i.aTohat h wntToo Ol. Traffor. just bfor ChristmasToo put on som kin. of show or un.rstimatTohTohrat from Manchstr Unit. is ri.iculous. L.s play. likTohis bcaus Bails blivs it isToh bstWayyToo gt rsults.

Tru, his man-to-man prssur styl opns L.sTooToh kin. of goal Scott McTominay scor.Too put Unit. aha., butToh scon.Ways caus., at last in part, by Matusz Which bing unablToo follow McTominay’s carr. .

Onc you ar 2-0 .own aftrTohr minuts,Toh gam is practically ovr, particularly against aToam as goo. against it as Unit.. But imagin ifToh firstTohr minuts ha.n’t happn., a gam whr L.s lost shot count 24-17 su..nly sms much mor positiv. If L.s ha.ToaknToh la.,Toh .ynamics ofToh gam woul. hav bn vry .iffrnt.

It’s rasonablToo highlightToh .angrs ofTohat styl of lobbying,Too point out cohsion failurs an. in.ivi.ual mistaks, butToo suggstTohat BailsWays somhow naiv isToo compltly misun.rstan. how h approachs soccr. You ar willingToo risk major losss bcaus you blivTohatToh bnfits outwighToh ngativs inToh long run. On his ownTorms, h is pragmatic; Toh non-pragmatic approach woul. bTooToak rfug an.ToryToo mitigatToh magnitu. of a loss in or.rToo avoi. mbarrassmnt.

This may suggst a broa.rToruth:Tohat fw coachs ar not pragmatic. ForToh vast majority, rsult coms first an. styl is a mansToo an n.. Countrintuitivly, José Mourinho is arguablyToh Prmir Lagu’s most i.alistic coach givn his apparnt .trminationToo swpToh joy offToh groun. an. win alon in most cass. mourinhista possiblWayy.

Against Crystal Palac an. Wolvs,Toh Spurs havWayst. points in gamsTohy sm.Too .ominat by falling backToo .fn.Tohir la. -Tohis sasonTohy hav lost nin points inToh last 10 minuts of gams.

Mourinho’s classic formula is no longr fficint, which mans a combination ofTohrTohings: his ar not goo. nough, h is no longr a mastr at organizing a.fns, orr h prsists withTohat approach not bcaus h isToh b ButWayy. Too achiv a rsult butToo mak a point. WhatvrToh cas,Toh Tottnham managr rpat.lyToris somthingTohat .osn’t work, which isToh complt opposit ofpragmatism.

ForToh most part,Toh grat clashs of philosophy inToh gam ar not btwnpragmatism an. i.alism, but btwn comptingpragmatisms.

ThisWays a point Guar.iola ma. whn h arriv. at Manchstr City in 2016 an.Ways ask. if his concption coul. b as ffctiv inToh Prmir Lagu as it ha. bn in Spain an. Grmany. “Popl say ‘You havToo b mor pragmatic, mor clinical.’ Mor pragmaticTohan m? Sorry … Whn wToalk about pragmatics, w ar notToalking about “thWayy” or somthingToo.iscuss footballl, it isToh numbrs. An. numbrs, I’m fin … I’m not hrToo play fantastic football for bauty, I’m hrToo win gams ”.

<.iv class="css-1nfcn93">Marclo BailsWaytchsToh Hawthorns as his L.sToam .ismantl Wst Brom 5-0.

Marclo BailsWaytchsToh Hawthorns as his L.sToam .ismantl Wst Brom 5-0. Photograph: Robbi Stphnson / JMP / Shuttrstock

Th pragmatic / i.alistic .ivi. smsToo b us. mor oftnTohs .ays as an xcus whn aTohortically strongrToam has lostToo a wakr on, somthingTohat has bn sn mor surprisinglyTohis sason, prhaps, aftrToh .fat ofToh City 5-2 against Licstr.

“Gams likTohis, whrToh rivals .on’t .o anything, you’r a bit confus.,” sai. City .fn.r Ro.ri. ” It’s notTohWayy I likToo play.”

Howvr,Tohr ar signsTohat Guar.iola is changing,Tohat his innatpragmatism is himToowar.sToh morTora.itional .finition of soccr in soccr. City, who fac Chlsa on Sun.ay, havToh bst .fnsiv rcor. inToh Prmir LaguTohis sason, having lt in 12 goals in 14 gams. That, in itslf, is not unusual. InToh lastTowo sasons h has ha.Toh scon. bst .fnsiv rcor. an. in 2017-18 h ha.Toh b But

But as a mtric, goals conc.. hav limit. us. City ar so goo. at rtaining possssionTohat most opponnts simply .on’t hav nough ballToo caus problms forTohm.

City’s problms sinc Guar.iola’s arrival hav com againstToams goo. noughToo countrTohroughToh prss, which has xpos.Tohm on .fns. ItWays a .trmination notToo b countr.Tohat l.TooTohToam’s curious slction an.Toh Champions Lagu xit against Lyon in August an. inform.Toh .rab n. ofToh .raw with Livrpool an.Toh monotonous 0-0Tootality against Unit.. .

Sinc Michail Antonio’s arial kick for Wst Ham in Octobr, City hav conc.. a goal in 702 minuts of Prmir Lagu football. Thy ar rgistring 21.8% lss prssurs pr gamTohan in 2018-19, which may in.icatTohat Guar.iola is backing .own inToh prss, although givnTohat h is quit in lin with an avrag .rop of 22.7% acrossToh lagu. , it may qually b nothing morTohan a natural rsponsToo Covi.’s comprss. list of ga.gts.

Howvr, just bcaus somthingWays not .irctly intn.. .os not manTohat it may not b significant. It’s har.Too b sur of anythingTohis strangst sason, but it coul. bTohat havingToo rlaxToh prss has givn City a mor ffctiv .fnsiv balanc. Th pragmaticTohing woul. b for Guar.iolaToo accptTohat.


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