When Pep Guardiola was announced as Manchester City manager, one word came to mind: TITLES. Everyone thought that the Catalan's arrival would translate into a quick transformation of everything that went wrong during the last year of the Manuel Pellegrini regime, and that Pep coming meant beautiful football, incredible winning streaks, easy games, lots of titles. All of at the flip of a switch.
There's a problem with that line of thinking: it's absurd. It's wrong. It's formed by people who think football is a videogame where you set the settings to Amateur, buy the best players and win everything.
Seriously, how did we get here?
Does Pep Guardiola deserve part of the blame for City's inconsistency so far this season? Definitely. Like every manager in history, including Guardiola himself at Barcelona and Bayern Munich, he has made mistakes, misjudged the potential (or lack thereof) of some of his players and sent on loan some people he could be using right now.
But he also made his team win 10 games in a row to start the season playing HIS way. With HIS choices. With HIS system. But because we have such short memory, we all forget that and think he sucks right now. Which is absurd, because during that streak he was the greatest manager ever and he was going to win everything, which was also a misguided line of thinking then.
What we must understand is that Pep Guardiola is about the process before the results. And that he was the luckiest man on Earth to manage fantastic squads in Spain and Germany — which is something Pep himself has said. But what people forget, quite easily for some reason, is that Barça and Bayern played much better football in the last 18 months of Guardiola's reign than they did at the beginning of it.
Why? Because of the process. Pep's sytem is very complex and sometimes very hard to understand at the start, but when it's fully present in the player's brain and muscle memory, it leads to amazing results, quality of play and, of course, titles. But because Barça and Bayern were so damn good before Guardiola arrived there, they were able to win titles in the first season while learning the new system, and even though the quality of football was very questionable, we forget all of that because of the trophies.
In England, it's even harder for Guardiola. Not because he's not good enough for the Premier League — he's a better manager than everybody else, with only Antonio Conte and Jürgen Klopp able to match his abilities as a coach —, but because the style of play, the competitiveness and unpredictability of the league, the footballing culture and the significant decrase in overall quality of his squad make the process of teaching his players harder.
Why? Because he's Pep Guardiola, and he has to win titles anyway. It doesn't matter if his squad is not even remotely close to fitting his philosophy; it doesn't matter if he's lost major players to injury and suspension all season long; it doesn't matter that the league features a team winning 13 games in a row that makes it impossible for anyone else to truly compete.
Nothing matters, because Pep Guardiola has to win everything.
He won't, and it'll take time before he gets a title. Or even a winning streak. Or even many good performances in a row. He needs better players, younger players, less stupid red cards that he can't control, some luck when it comes to injuries, and more support from the fans.
More than anything, Pep Guardiola needs time. A lot of it. Football usually doesn't afford it, but if Pep gets it, and there's no reason to believe he won't get it, Manchester City will be a spectacular team. Mark these words.