Wednesday 25 April 2018

Pep Guardiola bans pizza as new boss sends message to Man City's overweight stars

Pep Guardiola has banned pizza at Manchester City
Pep Guardiola has banned pizza at Manchester City

Ronnie Esplin

Pep Guardiola has banned his players from eating pizza and barred anyone who is categorised as overweight from training with the squad as the new Manchester City manager wastes no time imposing his exacting methods.

In the first raft of changes introduced by Guardiola three weeks into his anticipated revolution at City, France defender Gael Clichy has revealed how team-mates have been barred from training sessions if they exceed their weight requirements.

They have also been told which food and drinks are off limits.

Guardiola and his staff have established individual weight parameters for each squad member and expect them to be strictly adhered to or training bans are issued, with the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich coach adamant it is necessary to reduce the risk of injury and the incidence of mistakes made in games by out-of-shape players.

Those players considered overweight have been placed on special conditioning programmes to bring them into line, with pizza, other junk food and certain fizzy drinks and juices prohibited.

"Everything has been clear - on the field, outside the field, every detail counts," said Clichy, who arrived in Shenzhen with the rest of City's squad yesterday for the second leg of their pre-season tour of China.

Gael Clichy
Gael Clichy

"If you're weight is too high, you're not training with the team. So we have a few players who are not training with the team yet.

"You have to take responsibility. You have to know that if your weight is 60kg (9st 6lb) and you are on 70kg (11st) then you cannot play because you're going to get injured and get your team in trouble.

"He has also cut out some juices and pizza and all the heavy food is not allowed. Some people think 'that's normal, it should be like this' but it's not always like this and I know because I've been playing football for a long time.

"It's really refreshing and very exciting. He just wants us to trust him, he wants to trust us and I think it's the right way to start a relationship."

Clichy described the first few weeks under Guardiola as "incredible" and is already convinced the Catalan is "someone you will remember for a long time because he's truly impressive" as the left-back predicted "an amazing season for those lucky to stay here".

In an early indication of the challenge facing Joe Hart under Guardiola, Clichy spoke about the manager's belief that "the goalkeeper needs to be better with their feet" and revealed the importance Guardiola places on midfielders.

"He said something like, 'If he could play 11 midfielders, he would play them', so I guess for a midfielder it's unbelievable," the defender explained. "When you have someone like Guardiola then you have to adapt and quickly."

Clichy admitted players let standards drop and were distracted in the final months of last season by the news that Guardiola would be replacing Manuel Pellegrini.

He has backed Guardiola to have the sort of transcending effect on English football that Arsene Wenger had in his early years at Arsenal.

Irish Independent

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