Sunday 21 January 2018

Pep Guardiola insists he's 'not a coach for tackles' after shambolic defeat to Leicester

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola looks dejected last night
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola looks dejected last night

Steve Madeley

Pep Guardiola claimed he is “not a coach for tackles” after seeing his Manchester City side cruelly exposed by a revitalised Leicester.

Guardiola delivered a stubborn defence of his methods and ruled out major compromise to his style despite seeing Leicester prey on their weaknesses as Jamie Vardy bagged a hat-trick in a 4-2 win.

Statistics showed Manchester City did not win a tackle in the opening 35 minutes at the King Power Stadium as Leicester raced into a 3-0 lead inside 20 minutes.

But Guardiola insisted: “The second ball is a concept this is typical here in England when they use a lot of tackles.

“I am not a coach for the tackles. I don’t train for tackles. What I want is to try to play well and score goals. What are tackles?

“You have to win the duels, that is true. But normally when you play well you win tackles but after four minutes, at 2-0, the mind of the players is ‘what is going on? What happened?’

“It is not easy for them. It is another aspect of football but in the end we are not going to win or lose because of the tackles.”

Leicester exposed the visitors risky defending with Vardy ending his 16-game goal drought in club football, exploiting the high defensive line deployed by Guardiola.

But the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager insisted he will only make minor adjustments to the philosophies that brought him success in Spain and Germany.

“I have to improve,” he admitted. “But I want to play the football I feel because of course it is simple to say ‘concede fewer goals and score more’.

“The way we played in the season, except a few times, was quite good.

“I can’t say we didn’t play with the intention to create but after four minutes it was 2-0 and then we conceded the third.

“In the second half we tried but of course we conceded a lot of goals and I try to control games, control so we concede few goals. Here I cannot do that and I have to analyse why.

“I feel what I feel. In the Premier League there are some special things but the pitch is the same – 11 versus 11.

“So I have to control the little differences between other leagues but the idea is what I believe and I believe it will be good.”

England defender John Stones was culpable for Vardy’s third goal, which gave Leicester a 4-0 lead on 78 minutes.

Stones attempted a risky pass that was pounced upon by Vardy, but Guardiola defended the centre-back’s commitment to playing his way out of trouble.

“Except for the last goal, which happens, he put in a good performance,” said Guardiola.

“Of course central defenders can just defend and put the ball long and be strong in the air.

“We are asking him for a little bit more, not just defending, and it will help us make a good build-up.”

Leicester’s victory eased pressure on the Premier League champions, who began the game just two points outside the relegation zone following a difficult domestic season.

Vardy’s treble also ended his barren run, but manager Claudio Ranieri preached the need for cool heads.

“To get points is important for the table but this is just a little step because now we have to clean and think about the next match against Bournemouth and then Stoke,” he said.

“Vardy played so well and it is important for him to get back.

“He never told me ‘I need to score’, never. But I know the goalscorers need to score goals.”

Independent News Service

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