Another Manchester City game, another clear domination by Josep Guardiola's side. Manchester City finished off Everton in only 30 minutes, long before the blue side of Liverpool understood what was happening.
Ironically, even when Everton understood what was happening, they were still unable to respond in any way against City. I have written about Guardiola's magic and the reasons behind Manchester City's success many times. Today, I would like to use another interpretation from my close colleague, Ali Fikri Işık, and his views on Guardiola, which sheds light on many aspects of his coaching using elegant, poetic language.
According to Işık, City's game differentiates from other teams because Guardiola does not try to find the most suitable tactics for the day based on the opponent's weaknesses, but rather acknowledges the opponent's strength and challenges it with his own game.
He explains this case as follows, "Guardiola's game is centered on a consensus rather than suitability or equivalence. Rather than seeing the reason as a mediator between his game and the opponent, he sees the game as a manifestation of his football ideal, allowing the game to interact with the opponent. This leads to maximum effectiveness of individual talents."
Işık uses mysterious language in explaining Guardiola's essence, but I believe he hits the spot when he talks about the difference between consensus and suitability.
Traditionally, football coaches opt for the most suitable tactics for the day, in order to maximize their benefits. This leads to short-sightedness eventually, meaning that the team will go anywhere the wind takes them and leads to inconsistent performances. Guardiola's teams - Barcelona, Bayern Munich or Manchester City - never suffered long runs of inconsistent performances.
Even if his teams were out of the title race sometimes, you knew that they were always performing above the standard. This comes from the fact that Pep Guardiola's game never changes dramatically against any opponent, he trusts his game because he knows that he has a clear plan on how to create time and space for the final touch.
This approach is best named, by Ali Fikri Işık, as a consensus approach since this game cannot operate without all the players knowing exactly the game that Guardiola created.
If Raheem Sterling does not know where to run when Kevin de Bruyne gets the ball in the midfield, City can no longer attack so effectively, or if goalkeeper Ederson kicks the ball recklessly rather than passing it carefully, they won't be able to dominate possession like they do now.
The strength of the team comes from their belief in their coach's system, even though it misses the mark from time to time. Even the slightest hesitation or the unnecessary use of the prefrontal cortex, means that City's game no longer exists. In order to work, this game must be coded into the muscle memory of each and every player in the team. It must be their second nature.
Although City's game is the peak of rationality in football, it is also the peak of the criticism of pure reason. The irony is just unbearable.
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