Man City DNA Infects Lower Leagues, but humble Guardiola refuses


Pep Guardiola dismisses any credit for lower division teams adopting the playing style of his highly successful Manchester City squad. While many clubs below the Premier League now strive to play out from the back, control, possession, and pass their way through opponents, Guardiola remains oblivious to this trend.

“I don’t have the time to observe other teams,” remarked Guardiola, whose treble-winning side kicks off their FA Cup defense against Championship team Huddersfield this Sunday. “Teams play based on what the manager believes in and adapts to the players they have. Whether it’s high pressing or long balls, it’s the manager’s conviction. This is crucial, but I’m not aware of it.”

Taking advantage of City’s lighter schedule this month, Guardiola plans to intensify training, including a warm-weather camp in Abu Dhabi. After a demanding December with nine games, including the Club World Cup in Saudi Arabia, January offers just three fixtures, potentially increasing to four if they progress in the FA Cup.

“The Premier League made a wise decision to maintain the intensity during Boxing Day and Christmas and then take a break in January,” Guardiola acknowledged. “It helps us arrive in February mentally refreshed. With the FA Cup, we aim to retain the title or go as far as possible. Following that, a crucial game at Newcastle and a two-week break to refresh our minds. In Abu Dhabi, we’ll have more time to train and revisit concepts that get overlooked in our busy schedule.”

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