As the rise and fall of week to week play fuels the flames of media perceptions, Pep Guardiola seeks to ground Manchester City with honesty and intelligence.
Recognizing the potential of his players — what they know, and how they have performed at high points of this season —, the fabled trainer said that he was more pleased with the team’s performances in Middlesborough and Tottenham than their show against Palace.
Pep praised the team for rising to the intensity of early season Premier League play but had to remind the press that he needs more time to learn about the league and how his brand of tactics can be employed.
It seems that the central defense has been less culpable for City’s weaknesses. Challenging one-on-one attacks down the wing, errant midfield play, the lack of chances created (10 shots/4 on target), and handling the inevitable rotation of players, are just a few areas where the squad can improve, says Guardiola.
Although Yaya Touré Toure spoke brightly about his future at City before the fix against Palace, the squad probably won’t rely on his occasional genius in the long term. Meanwhile, Ilkay Gundogan has provided equal spark with more versatility, Kevin De Bruyne hardly disappoints, Fabian Delph is still out, and David Silva will not watch many games on the bench.
Guardiola gives City fans many reasons to hope for multiple trophies this season, but his ultimate priorities rest in the broader fabric of the team.