Manchester City have secured a new two year deal for their manager. His success to date as manager is impressive but it is now time to consider how Pep Guardiola‘s Manchester City can get the dream back on track after relinquishing the Premier League to Liverpool last season and the Champions League still elusive.
Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City Dream
One Elusive Trophy Left to Win
Pep Guardiola has achieved success and delivered silverware to the Etihad Stadium since becoming manager on February 1st 2016. The news was strange in its timing as the 2015/16 season was still ongoing and his start date was not until the end of that season. His start to life at the Etihad was initially impressive. Ten wins in his first ten matches. That early fine form subsequently went unrewarded. By the end of the season, Guardiola and Manchester City ended with nothing. This incredibly was the first time in his managerial life that he had no trophy to hold.
The lack of trophies drove Guardiola on to make sure that the same scenario was not to be repeated. The ultimate dream has always been the UEFA Champions League.
When Pep Guardiola said that he wanted to forget the lack of trophies in his inaugural season at the helm, he was not joking. The following season, Manchester City completed the domestic treble.
For all the glory associated with that season, the Champions League remained and remain as elusive to Guardiola and City.
Champions League is the Dream
In the 2018/19 season, despite that treble, City feel short once more in Europe this time to Premier League rivals Tottenham Hotspur. In the 2019/20 season, City reached the quarter-finals again but this time came up short against Lyon. Three seasons in a row Guardiola and City were considered to be one of the favourites for the competition but could not get through. The Premier League title was relinquished with a whimper. Despite winning the League Cup, the season felt flat and unsuccessful. Questions were even raised as to if Pep’s time at City was lurching toward a premature end.
Rebuilding the Dream
The contract extension for Pep Guardiola takes him well over his longest spells of four seasons at Barcelona and Bayern Munich respectively. At the end of October 2020, there had been speculation linking the Catalonian with a return to the Camp Nou but he said:
“I’m incredibly happy here, delighted to be in Manchester and hopefully I can do a good job this season to stay longer,”
Manchester City have everything that Guardiola needs: money and belief from the owners that he is the best manager in world football. Now he has signed that extension, how does he get the dream back on track?
Firstly he needs to get Manchester City performing and winning games again. City head into Saturday’s clash with Tottenham Hotspur in tenth place in the Premier League. Injuries to key players such as Gabriel Jesus and Sergio Aguero have not helped along with defensive lapses.
Ultimately he needs to win the Champions League. He must win the Champions League. One trick he might yet have up his sleeve is Lionel Messi. Despite the Argentinian staying at Barcelona this season, there is a clear admiration between the pair. Messi and Kevin de Bruyne in the same midfield with Aguero in attack. Who would not fancy that team to win the biggest tournament in club football?
Manchester City fans have lived the dream ever since Khaldoon Al Mubarak took over the club. Limitless funds and instant success have been a given. This season will be intense with games coming at a fast rate; this is due to the coronavirus pandemic and the quick turn around of last season into this one. These two extra years after the current season could just be the time that Pep Guardiola needs to put his Champions League dream back on track.
Should that trophy elude him once more, there might still be a feeling of never quite achieving what he was expected to.
The next two years or so will tell us if that dream can become a reality.