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Manchester City has had a modest start to the Premier League season, and is currently in 14th place in the table with only four points and a 6-7 goal difference after three games played.
The weak start to the season has led to speculation about the future of the meritorious manager Pep Guardiola.
Mike Minay on BBC Radio Manchester follows Manchester City more closely than most. He firmly denies that Pep Guardiolas risks being fired at Etihad.
– They have had three fantastic seasons under Guardiola. You have to take things with a pinch of salt, they became “Centurions” and won everything in England one year. Is there a crisis now? Not yet. Let’s see in November, he states to TV 2.
Manchester City hope that Pep Guardiola will extend his current contract with Manchester City, but will start looking for a replacement as soon as possible if the Spaniard decides to leave the club. This is confirmed by Manchester City’s director of sports, Omar Berrada, to The Telegraph.
Two years ago, Guardiola extended his contract to apply until the 2021 season. But the success coach has not yet signaled that he wants to extend the contract further.
Mike Minay of BBC Radio Manchester admits he is unsure whether Guardiola will extend.
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– That is the big question. Do I think he will stay? If I have to answer right here and now, I do not think so. That may change in November, but it seems like a shift in him. Five years is a long time in the same club and the last two seasons, this one included, so it has not been quite what the club wants. The first 2-3 seasons dominated City English football and you should probably not bet too much money that he would not be able to do it again, says Minay, before reminding the following:
– You never know with Guardiola. We had supporters who called in after the Leeds game and said he should be fired. I do not agree, but the tone has changed over the last year, definitely.
– Things have changed
Minay has noticed that Guardiola has changed a bit in his behavior this season.
– He always says he loves being here. They built the club around him, they clearly had an ambition that he would be longer than the first contract. At the same time, he has not coached any team for more than four years. Things have changed this season. I dont know why. He seems more disappointed, more frustrated, more tired. City fans are not as “pro-Guradiola” as a year ago, he sums up.
– It’s about not repeating what you did before. Have teams figured out his tactics? He himself says that he only stays if the club wants it, and then he must be successful. He shifts the responsibility onto the board.
Leeds impressed against City and secured points
In the end, it is Guardiola himself who gets to decide whether he continues or not.
– I think Guardiola has a lot of power. If he wants to pull, he pulls. There is a strong link between the board and him in Soriano. It will be another decision they make together. One does not kick Guardiola, Minay insists.
– He fits into the club’s philosophy
On the rumor mill, former Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino has frequently been mentioned as a possible replacement for Guardiola if he chooses to leave Etihad next summer.
Minay believes Pochettino will be a clear first choice to replace if Guardiola gives up at the end of the season.
– Pochettino is the big favorite if Guardiola were to leave. He built up Spurs and Southampton. He has not won a trophy, but he took the Spurs to the Champions League final which was impressive, Minay believes.
He believes Tottenham’s former successful manager will fit in very well with Etihad.
– He fits into the club’s philosophy. He stands for attractive football, and then he is a young coach. Many fans would probably have supported Pochettino if he came here. They do not get Klopp, so what is the next best thing? Pochettino, the Manchester City reporter states.
Sold to City for NOK 800 million
Will not hear talk of crisis
Many have been very surprised by Manchester City’s weak start to the season. Minay thinks all the talk about crisis is overdramatized.
– It is quite clear that they are not where they should be. At the same time, they have three wins in five games, they have only one loss. But it is the league form that is the problem. They are already eight points behind Everton, six behind Liverpool. Yes, it is worrying, but they will still play against them twice, he says.
However, the BBC reporter believes that the game City have shown in the opening matches gives some cause for concern.
– It’s probably more about how the results have come about. Against Leicester, they struggled to create chances and conceded five. Against Leeds, they should have led by three or four goals before Leeds equalized. Defensively, if Laporte is injured, they will struggle. Dias, on the other hand, looks promising. If the two can make a stopper pair, then you have the foundation for a solid defense. The challenge is whether they can stay injury-free, he sums up.
At the same time, he is aware that Pep Guardiola has not done a good enough job of replacing what was once the tribe in the team.
– Have they replaced the tribe in the team with Hart, Kompany, Yaya Touré and Agüero? I do not think so. Yes, Ederson in for Hart is good. But do you have a midfielder who can decide matches like Touré in the most important moments? Is Rodri that man? He may be, but he’s not there now. He needs to improve, the City reporter states.
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Messi is still connected to Etihad
Lionel Messi was strongly linked with Manchester City after the Argentine made it clear that he would leave Barcelona during the summer window. As is well known, Messi made a complete U-turn, but in the tabloids there is now fierce speculation as to whether the superstar can arrive at Manchester City next summer.
– Messi will not come if Guardiola is not here. This is how I perceive it, without having spoken directly to both camps. He wants to work with Pep. What was interesting this summer is that there was a lot of noise about the transition in Barcelona, not so much in the City. Guardiola toned it down at press conferences, which was wise. The club never announced that Messi was the main goal, Mike Minay reminds.