Pep Guardiola admits that one of the reasons that Manchester City have struggled this season is that he underestimated the physical nature of the Premier League.
Guardiola made a name for himself at Barcelona and Bayern Munich with his possession-based style, but he has been struggling to get City playing his way due to the direct approach of many of their opponents.
“I try to play in one way all my career and here, for example with high pressing, when they have the ball we go to pick them up, it is not allowed, because it is not allowed. Many times the ball is more in the air than the grass, and I have to adapt,” Guardiola told Sky Sports.
“I was in Munich and spoke with Xabi Alonso, and he said:
‘You have to adapt, it’s the second ball, the second ball!’ But really, you have to adapt to the second ball, and the third ball, and the fourth!
“I never before was focused on that, because in Barcelona or in Spain, more or less the players try to play for the culture.
“That’s why they won World Cups, and they won the Euros, won the Champions Leagues, the Europa Leagues, all the time, all of the years, Spanish teams are in the latter stages, all of the teams.
“In Germany it was more physical, but not like here.
‘Here it is all the teams, except maybe Chelsea because Antonio [Conte] is playing really well and having them build up, but the other teams are taller, stronger, physical, and you have to adapt and build from that.”
Interesting insight from Guardiola and it will be fascinating to see how he adapts. Will he continue to try and build from the back or will he slightly change his philosophy and go more direct at times?