The Evolution of Pep Guardiola
There is no question that Pep Guardiola has evolved as a coach during his time with Bayern Munich. His new principles and style are likely to accompany him when he arrives at Manchester City next season.
Guardiola likes to play a highly possessive and aggressive style that thrives on positional awareness, off-the-ball movement, and communication. The players that have thrived at Bayern are the multi-dimensional players that understand how to operate within the larger aspects of a team.
I recently came across this article that does a good job of breaking down just how Guardiola has evolved during his time as the Bayern Munich coach.
However, you cannot fully understand Guardiola without looking at his regrettable decision against Barcelona in the semi-finals of the Champions League last season when he sent out a team with only three defenders to match up against the best three attacking players in the world. This decision was a complete disaster, as it killed their Champions League hopes once again and caused many to question Guardiola as a coach. Bayern had fallen to Real Madrid in the semi-finals of the Champions League a year prior.
A loss in the Champions League should certainly not define a coach, after all, it is incredibly difficult to win. No manager has ever won it more than three times, and Guardiola has already won it twice. What should define Guardiola is how he has responded to these losses.
When he arrived at Bayern Munich he was tasked with merging his system with the players he had on roster. Guardiola understood that if the team were to succeed he would need to allow his stars to thrive with their current style, rather than burdening them with his system. Over the past several years, Guardiola has been able to bring in talent that meshed with his system. His final season will be the true test as to whether he was able to properly blend his coaching style with his players.
So what can Manchester United expect in the years to come? They can certainly count on having a coach that places an emphasis hard work and possession. The players that will thrive at Manchester United will be those who give maximum effort and are committed to defense. Although he will have to work with the players in the current system at the start, Guardiola knows how to maximize a team’s strengths and protect them from their weaknesses.