Manchester City Brought Pep Guardiola In To Win The Champions League And He Has Failed Miserably

Manchester City Brought Pep Guardiola In To Win The Champions League And He Has Failed Miserably

PULL the other one, Pep. Prioritising the Premier League, attempting to palm off a Champions League exit as just one of those things, does not wash.

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PULL the other one, Pep.

Prioritising the Premier League, attempting to palm off a Champions League exit as just one of those things, does not wash.

REUTERS Pep Guardiola must be fool himself if he shrugs off the Euro exit against Liverpool

Manchester City boss Guardiola, who led Barcelona to European glory in 2009 and 2011, was brought in to bring the biggest prize  in club  football to the Etihad.

So far, he has failed. Miserably.

City wanted Pep the Purist when they finally convinced him to leave Bayern Munich for the unlimited resources on offer under City’s Abu Dhabi owners.

In return, the club were supposed to dominate the European scene.

Getty – Contributor Raheem Sterling was bizarrely left out of the starting leg for the 3-0 first-leg loss

News Group Newspapers Ltd Mo Salah bagged a crucial goal in each leg for Liverpool against Manchester City

Instead, they now have an  unpredictable, whimsical head coach.

The man who axed Raheem Sterling, who was on a hot streak, from the City starting XI cuffed 3-0 by Liverpool at Anfield in the first leg of their last-eight tie.

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The man who washed agent Mino Raiola’s dirty underpants in public just 24 hours before City blew the chance to win the Premier League against rivals Manchester United — by claiming he had been offered Paul Pogba in January.

The man who was sent off at half-time for losing his temper with Spanish referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz  when City were leading  Liverpool 1-0 on Tuesday.

Those seven days in City’s distorted and  demanding world  needed nerves of steel, emotional control and clear, coherent thinking.

But Guardiola’s decision-making was mixed-up and muddled.

City’s owners — speeding towards a £1billion outlay on Project Pep —  certainly do not expect to lose a Champions League quarter-final to Liverpool 5-1 on aggregate.

The much-maligned Manuel  Pellegrini is the only manager in City’s history to get the club as far as a Champions League semi-final.

They lost 1-0 to Real Madrid over two legs in 2016, beaten at the  Bernabeu when Fernando scored an own goal.

Pep practically played rush goalie in last season’s disastrous last-16 exit to Monaco.

Jurgen Klopp says Liverpool survived the Manchester City Whirlwind and deserved to go through over the two legs

He also started six forwards against Liverpool at the Etihad on Tuesday and has still not come close to matching Pellegrini.

The arch-strategist, this calculating mind — the man who came to reshape English football — was  supposed to be decisive at the very highest level of the sport.

City were already putting threes, fours and fives past the  also-rans in the Premier League long before Guardiola was given the job.

Pep was Sheikh Mansour’s insurance policy at elite level.

PA:Press Association Sheikh Mansour thought Pep Guardiola would be a certain success at the Etihad

Well, the premium just shot up. City already know what it takes to win Premier League titles, with Roberto Mancini landing the first in 2012 (89 points) and  Pellegrini  adding another two years later (86).

Pep is regarded as an upgrade on both.

This chess player, the great friend of grandmaster Garry Kasparov, was always two steps ahead of the  opposition when he worked with Barca’s players at their Joan Gamper training centre.

AFP or licensors Man City are over-loaded with attacking talents like Belgian Kevin De Bruyne

But the  defeat to Liverpool  revived memories of Kasparov’s advice after Pep’s Bayern were battered 4-0 by Real Madrid in the second leg of their 2014 Champions League semi-final.

Kasparov had pleaded: “Remember, Pep, you don’t win games just because you’ve moved all your  pieces to the front.”

Guardiola, to his cost, forgot that wise warning.

City — starting Raheem Sterling, Kevin De Bruyne, Leroy Sane, Bernardo Silva, David Silva and Gabriel Jesus against Liverpool — ran out of ideas in the second half.

PA:Press Association Pep Guardiola was unhappy with ref Antonio Miguel Mateu Lahoz but Manchester City had far bigger failings in both quarter-final legs to worry about

Their defence creaked, with goalkeeper Ederson conceding eight goals in three games after Mo Salah and Roberto Firmino won it for the red men on Tuesday.

No matter how much money is spent on central defenders — Aymeric Laporte,  Nicolas Otamendi and John Stones — City still cannot seem to stop conceding soft goals.

The squad, Pep would have you believe, needs yet more surgery in the summer.

They cannot hope to finally win the Champions League, to bamboozle the likes of Real Madrid, Bayern Munich or even Liverpool by just playing fast and lose.

Pep Guardiola vents his anger at the referee after Manchester City exit Champions League at hands of Liverpool

City are good — but they are not that good.

The reality is  they believed they really did have a shot of  winning the Champions League after building up a huge cushion in the Premier League title race.

It is the reason they wanted to sign Alexis Sanchez and Riyad  Mahrez in January — desperate to add yet more attacking options  to this ludicrously unbalanced squad.

AFP or licensors Manchester City looked at buying Alexis Sanchez but he eventually joined United

It is a shame that it will all come down to money again this summer,  because Guardiola arrived with a reputation for improving players beyond the capability of any other coach in the world.

These days, when he does not like the look of a player any more he disposes of them, discarding them  for a pricier alternative.

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When he gets to work, when his players buy into his complex training sessions, there is improvement.

Kyle Walker, City’s £180,000-a-week defender, loves working under Pep.

Sterling, who has had a superb season, is another.