DANNY MURPHY: Manchester City are exceptional because Guardiola is the best at ‘managing upwards’
DANNY MURPHY: Pep Guardiola isn’t just a coaching genius… Manchester City are exceptional because he’s the best at ‘managing upwards’ after the Citizens clinched a third successive crown
Pep Guardiola is not only a coaching genius but also the best I’ve seen at ‘managing upwards’ — a hugely important part of the modern game.
He has a fantastic budget and players to work with, yet it’s not true that he gets everything he wants by clicking his fingers. He had his heart set on a top centre forward two years ago but City couldn’t get a deal over the line for Harry Kane or Cristiano Ronaldo.
Some managers would have spent weeks whingeing about it but there was no posturing from Pep. He just got on with things and found another way to win the league without a recognised striker!
Managers need a more complex set of skills today than ever before. They are part of a huge corporation liaising with a sporting director, chief executive, chairman, owners and large recruitment and medical departments, who will all have an opinion.
Guardiola has always been publicly supportive of his bosses, even during financial fair play investigations, and City’s success on the pitch is a reflection of the harmony off it. If there have been disagreements within the building, we don’t know about them. The world sees a united front thanks to Guardiola.
The relationships that Pep Guardiola has within the hierarchy at City have helped fuel his success story in Manchester
Mail Sport’s Danny Murphy believes that Guardiola’s communication skills are key to his success
Director of football Txiki Begiristain is allowed to get on with his work quietly and effectively and, like we did at Liverpool when we won trophies under Gerard Houllier, the players work in an environment that doesn’t have a blame or excuse culture.
Guardiola is passionate about winning but still allows players to leave if they want.
It was bold to let Joao Cancelo and Oleksandr Zinchenko leave but Guardiola turned centre-back Nathan Ake into an excellent left back and did the same with Manuel Akanji.
He’ll hope Ilkay Gundogan can sort out a new deal with the club to stay but he has not applied any pressure to either side to force it.
As he edges closer to an historic Treble, it would be remiss not to mention the work he does on the grass.
He introduced the idea of full-backs stepping into midfield in possession, and now everybody has followed.
Against Real Madrid when he was worried by the pace of Vinicius Junior, he made John Stones the extra man stepping into midfield from defence.
The best managers can manage upwards. Jurgen Klopp is also good at it. You won’t hear him blasting the owners if Liverpool don’t sign Jude Bellingham.
Jurgen Klopp is another manager that Murphy rates highly for his communication skills
Guardiola’s work with John Stones this season has been instrumental to City’s Treble chase
There is a reason why so many of Guardiola’s players come back better after being sidelined.
Stones looked done and dusted at City but he’s been magnificent this season. Jack Grealish also looks a completely different player. Nobody is kicking up a fuss about Phil Foden being left out.
Bernardo Silva was a central midfielder last year, now he’s replaced Riyad Mahrez on the right who was top scorer last season and did nothing wrong.
It is all down to Pep’s communication and work on the training pitch — and not indulging in mind games with his own bosses.