Mauricio Pochettino has told Pep Guardiola that humility is a key factor to him succeeding in the Premier League with Manchester City.
The former Bayern Munich and Barcelona coach ended his time in Bavaria to join the Citizens in July, heralded as arguably the greatest manager in modern football.
Guardiola brought with him a philosophy that embodied the use of beautiful yet efficient football, with a number of core players key ingredients to ensuring that his formulas tick.
This is no surprise. As a player himself at Barca, the Spaniard was one of those influential members under Johan Cruyff, and was often told to change the flow of the game by moving position halfway through a game by the legendary Dutchman.
These orders were given to no other player but Guardiola, and it’s little wonder that he has adopted a similar technique in his management at Barca – one would be labelled insane for not utilising Lionel Messi to the best of his ability.
At Bayern Munich, however, there was an evident power struggle between Pep and the board. He enjoyed limited success, but the freedom to breathe and shape a football team that represented his philosophy in the way that mirrored his successful teams at Barca.
Guardiola has encountered unexpected difficulty with a Manchester City squad seemingly too stubborn to adapt fully to his ways. Some performances by City this season are a shadow of what a team under the brilliant 45-year-old.
He is not the first foreign coach to manage in the Premier League though and feel forced to accustom his tactics to the style of English demands, and Tottenham’s Argentinian tactician Pochettino has given Guardiola a warning that humility is integral in the Premier League.
“When you go somewhere new it is never easy, and the Premier League is a completely different place,” Pochettino said when asked about Guardiola.
“You do not endure it, or realise how difficult it is until you get here. People tend to underestimate the Premier League.
“They [foreign managers] think they still play long balls here, with no quality of football and that Wednesday is a day off. Well, it is not like that. I have been in the country for four years and I have never seen that.”
“If you arrive here and you are not humble enough to know that you have to work hard, you will be disappointed,” he said.
“Guardiola is one of the best coaches in the world and it is normal that he needs time to work and to put his ideas into practice.”
Pochettino could do Guardiola an enormous favour by preventing Chelsea extending their already considerable lead over Man City tonight at White Hart Lane, but it promises to be an immensely difficult task.
Antonio Conte’s outfit are looking to create a Premier League record by winning their 14th successive game, and the fearsome attacking trio of Eden Hazard, Diego Costa and Pedro looks absolutely unstoppable.
Victor Moses has also been enjoying a renaissance in his career out wide, while Cesc Fabregas looks like a completely different player under Conte.
David Luiz is also looking more assured than ever at the back, with goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois enjoying such phenomenal form between the sticks that Real Madrid have been linked with a move.
It is the cohesion that Chelsea enjoy that Tottenham and to a larger extent, Man City are thriving to attain in their teams.
Guardiola will be hoping that he can achieve this as soon as possible – the club’s owners do not have a reputation for being impatient, but even City’s manager has said they are ten years behind Manchester United in progress.
Callum Connolly, Pundit Arena.