There was a playful smile on Pep Guardiola’s face and each phrase dripped with sarcasm – although it’s possible not everybody noticed the humorous facet.
‘Within the Champions League, all the time I overthink. I overthink quite a bit, completely,’ Guardiola mentioned.
‘That’s why I’ve had good outcomes. I like to overthink and create silly ways. Tonight I take inspiration and there might be unimaginable ways tomorrow. We’ll play with 12.’
Champions League success has to date eluded Pep Guardiola throughout 5 seasons as Manchester Metropolis supervisor – and on every event, he has been partly in charge for his or her exit
However Guardiola sarcastically hit out at those that counsel he ‘overthinks’ earlier than key video games
Guardiola addressed the criticism of his pointless Champions League tinkering in the correct manner however the chilly arduous reality is that the world’s finest supervisor hasn’t gained Europe’s high competitors in 11 years now.
He failed in three seasons with Bayern Munich and he’s now had 5 stabs with Manchester Metropolis, exiting thrice within the quarter-finals, as soon as within the last-16 after which shedding the ultimate final yr to Chelsea.
On every of these 5 events, to various levels, Guardiola was liable for Metropolis shedding and so their quest for the holy grail of the Champions League goes on.
If Guardiola did certainly see a nocturnal tactical imaginative and prescient – a bit like Beth Harmon visualising chess strikes in The Queen’s Gambit – forward of the quarter-final, first leg towards Atletico Madrid, perhaps Metropolis followers must be anxious.
2016-17: Final-16 vs Monaco, 6-6 combination, misplaced on away targets
The primary leg on the Etihad Stadium was an absolute traditional, with Metropolis beating Monaco 5-3 with nearly any scoreline doable.
Heading to Monaco, you’d have thought Guardiola may need achieved the smart factor and tried to guard Metropolis’s two-goal benefit, particularly towards an thrilling opponent who had racked up 120 targets by mid-March that season.
However Metropolis’s supervisor had declared pre-match that ‘if we don’t rating a objective we might be eradicated’ and set his workforce out accordingly.
5 attacking gamers had been deployed with Fernandinho the one holding midfielder and Yaya Toure left on the bench. The Brazilian didn’t stand a lot likelihood containing a free-flowing Monaco facet spearheaded by Kylian Mbappe.
Guardiola stamps his ft and cries out in frustration as Metropolis are dumped out by Monaco
Tiemoue Bakayoko headed dwelling the decisive objective for Monaco in a traditional last-16 encounter
Regardless of their energy up entrance, Metropolis had been overwhelmed within the first half and didn’t muster a single shot on objective as Mbappe and Fabinho levelled the mixture rating.
Although Metropolis did regain the mixture lead due to Leroy Sane, they had been let down by defensive frailties with Tiemoue Bakayoko allowed a free header simply eight yards from objective to ship Monaco via.
‘I attempted to persuade them in all of the conferences we needed to come right here, attempt to assault and rating,’ mentioned Guardiola after his first profession last-16 exit.
‘My mistake was being not in a position to persuade them to do this. All managers make errors however I don’t assume it was right down to a tactical mistake.’
An thrilling younger Monaco workforce that includes Kylian Mbappe (second proper) proved too sturdy
2017-18: Quarter-final vs Liverpool, misplaced 1-5 on combination
This season noticed Metropolis amass 100 factors on their approach to Guardiola’s first Premier League title win, ending 19 factors forward of second-placed Manchester United.
Nevertheless it was Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool who inflicted Metropolis’s first league defeat of the season – on January 14 – in a memorable 4-3 win at Anfield.
Maybe recollections of his Metropolis facet being unsettled by Klopp’s ‘heavy metallic soccer’ in that match scrambled Guardiola’s thoughts when the 2 had been drawn collectively within the Champions League quarter-finals.
Mohamed Salah had scored within the league encounter and Guardiola tasked Aymeric Laporte with a man-marking job within the first leg, however in an unfamiliar place on the left-side of defence.
Contrasting feelings on the touchline as Metropolis are swamped by Liverpool within the 2018 first leg
Guardiola tinkered together with his workforce choice and system, taking part in into Liverpool’s arms
Unsurprisingly, Laporte was utterly out of his depth as Liverpool swarmed ahead with the Egyptian opening the scoring simply 12 minutes in.
One other transfer that raised eyebrows noticed Raheem Sterling unnoticed towards his former membership regardless of being in sensible kind.
This allowed Ilkay Gundogan to play in midfield however he too was ineffective and ultimately Guardiola admitted his mistake and introduced Sterling on.
By that point, Liverpool had a three-goal lead and Metropolis, by no means used to being beneath the cosh in such a manner, had been on their manner out.
Guardiola can’t bear to observe having been despatched to the stands throughout the dwelling second leg
Mohamed Salah proved the scourge of Metropolis as Liverpool superior 5-1 on combination
Within the return on the Etihad, Gabriel Jesus gave them hope simply two minutes in however when Leroy Sane noticed a vital second objective disallowed, Guardiola exploded at referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz at half-time and was despatched off.
There was historical past with Lahoz – who had made two contentious penalty calls within the Monaco loss a yr earlier – however Guardiola solely had himself in charge as Liverpool got here from behind to win 2-1 on the night time and 5-1 on combination.
2018-19: Quarter-final vs Tottenham Hotspur, 4-4 combination, misplaced on away targets
Quick ahead one other 12 months and Metropolis had been dreaming of the Quadruple. High of the Premier League, nonetheless within the FA Cup and with the Carabao Cup within the bag, drawing an inconsistent Tottenham in Europe wasn’t a nasty final result.
The primary leg in north London noticed a kind of Guardiola workforce picks that made little sense. They’d gained 14 consecutive video games, so why try to repair what ain’t broke?
Fabian Delph was performed at left-back however struggled to deal with the velocity of Heung-min Son, whereas in-form No 10 Kevin De Bruyne was dropped in favour of Gundogan as a second defensive midfielder.
Heung-min Son powers dwelling Tottenham’s winner within the 2018-19 quarter-final, first leg
Guardiola had raised some eyebrows together with his workforce choice for the primary sport in London
Maybe Guardiola’s pondering was to play the chances over a two-legged tie and maintain legs recent for key video games developing in a nip-and-tuck title race with Liverpool.
It didn’t work on the night time and Metropolis had been a shadow of their normal fluent selves, with Sergio Aguero seeing a penalty saved and just one different shot on the right track all night time.
Little marvel Guardiola lower a annoyed determine as his workforce failed to maneuver via the gears. When he launched De Bruyne and likewise Leroy Sane within the 89th-minute, it was too little, too late.
The second leg on the Etihad was a traditional, with Fernando Llorente sending Tottenham via
Remarkably, Metropolis nonetheless haven’t scored a objective on the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Thoughts you, Guardiola nor any supervisor might foresee the insanity of the second leg, which Metropolis gained 4-3 however nonetheless exited on away targets.
After Fernando Llorente bundled dwelling from a nook through his hip – surviving a VAR examine for handball – the expertise intervened once more to disallow what would have been a Sterling winner, with Aguero offside.
2019-20: Quarter-final vs Lyon, misplaced 1-3
With the world battling the Covid pandemic, the Champions League decamped to Portugal for its closing levels in 2020.
After eliminating Actual Madrid within the last-16, Metropolis drew Lyon within the quarter-finals and hopes had been sky-high this is able to lastly be their time.
Alas, what adopted was probably the most baffling instance of Guardiola ‘overthinking’ but as he utterly ripped up his workforce’s profitable construction for crucial match of their season and for no good purpose.
Metropolis’s defeat to Lyon within the one-legged 2019-20 quarter-final was probably the most baffling of the lot
He ditched the same old 4-3-3 for a three-man defence Metropolis had solely deployed on a handful of events that season, additionally leaving a lot of their finest attacking gamers on the bench.
Lyon had knocked Juventus out within the earlier spherical however Metropolis had been heavy favourites and Guardiola was just too respectful in making an attempt to match their form.
Rodri and Ilkay Gundogan collectively in midfield was too conservative and Metropolis’s excessive defensive position left them susceptible to the counter. Lyon solely actually had De Bruyne and Sterling as creators to take care of they usually did.
Guardiola surprised everybody by altering formations and Metropolis in the end paid the worth
It was evident from the outset that Guardiola’s plan wasn’t going to work however he froze and waited till the 56th minute to deliver on Riyad Mahrez.
Lyon left them surprised by profitable 3-1, with Moussa Dembele hanging the 2 killer blows in a while to depart Guardiola in despair.
‘It’s a distinct yr, identical stuff,’ mentioned De Bruyne within the aftermath.
Guardiola wasn’t prepared to simply accept the blame, saying: ‘On this competitors, ways just isn’t crucial factor.
Raheem Sterling and his Metropolis team-mates are left surprised after Lyon rating their third objective
‘We labored three days on this. We mentioned it and reviewed it. The way in which we performed was actually good. It was not an issue. I understand how it really works. I do know why we did it.’
That’s nice, Pep, as a result of no person else understood it.
2020-21: Remaining vs Chelsea, misplaced 0-1
After that debacle, Metropolis actually thought they’d cracked it final season once they overcame Paris Saint-Germain handsomely within the semi-finals to satisfy Chelsea in Porto.
It genuinely appeared that classes from the earlier 4 exits had lastly been discovered by Guardiola they usually had been fancied to get the higher of their Premier League rivals.
Guardiola had discovered to not tinker together with his workforce and had made simply 4 adjustments throughout the 4 quarter-final and semi-final matches, with 9 gamers beginning all of the video games.
Evidently that was all a bit too sane as a result of Guardiola’s teamsheet for the largest sport of all left everybody staggered.
Metropolis’s dejected participant stroll previous the trophy having misplaced to Chelsea in final season’s remaining
Rodri and Fernandinho had figured in 60 out of 61 video games for Metropolis throughout that season, both individually or collectively. Neither began the ultimate, with Gundogan entrusted to anchor the midfield.
Maybe scarred by the Lyon expertise, Guardiola as a substitute went all-out in assault with De Bruyne, Sterling, Mahrez, Phil Foden and Bernardo Silva beginning.
Guardiola once more made some questionable selections together with his workforce choice and paid the worth
Sterling hadn’t been in nice kind and barely featured within the wins over Borussia Dortmund and PSG, whereas Gundogan, Silva and De Bruyne, a false 9, appeared utterly confused as to their roles.
De Bruyne was changed by Gabriel Jesus on the hour mark after Antonio Rudiger left him with a fractured eye socket, by which era Kai Havertz had already given Chelsea the lead.
They held out and Metropolis had been denied once more within the Champions League with Guardiola’s odd tactical and workforce choice selections costing them but once more.