Pep Guardiola is cryptic about his future and his history tells us that supporters of Manchester City should be somewhat worried.
He did four seasons in Barcelona and then took a year off. He then did three years in Bayern Munich.
Not the kind of manager who stays in the profession forever – there are too many other things he wants to do – it would not surprise anyone if Guardiola does not go beyond the terms of his current city contract, which is at the end of the season.
The Pep Guardiola contract in Manchester City expires at the end of the 2020-21 season
He is currently doing what he does if his team does not produce the perfection he craves. He sees things in the shadow that are not there.
This weekend he suggested that Ilkay Gundogan had saved the penalty at Spurs because Hugo Lloris came off his line too early. He says they have different interpretations of the law in the Premier League as opposed to Europe.
Lloris did indeed move, but Guardiola’s next point was abstract, even by his own standards, and overlooked that it was just a bad penalty taken by the wrong player. Who knows? Maybe it was even his own fault. After all, he is the coach.
The Spanish coach has stayed in one of his previous two clubs for no more than four years
Last week, Guardiola had advocated the scrapping of the Carabao Cup, which I am sure was appreciated by fans of Aston Villa who entered the field to celebrate their exciting semi-final win over Leicester a few days later.
So we know what we see here. We see a manager who feels the pressure, a man struggling to understand why everything does not fit in place like last season and the previous one before.
And that’s exactly why I hope he stays. In next year and afterwards. It’s great to see a Guardiola team playing with perfect synchronicity.
Liverpool van Jurgen Klopp becomes champion with a 22-point lead over Man City holders
At its best, City remains marginally better to watch than Liverpool. But just as fascinating in another way is watching great managers when they don’t win. This is in some ways an even greater test of their talents.
Sir Alex Ferguson never had it completely his own way after trophies began to flow in Manchester United.
But on every occasion, whether it was the frustration of Arsenal, Chelsea or City, he found a way back to the top. This is the challenge for Guardiola now.
When he’s struggling, it’s hard to keep your eyes off him. His emotions are so transparent that you have the feeling to look straight into his soul. He would be a terrible poker player.
Sir Alex Ferguson bounced back to win the title after Arsenal, Chelsea and Man City came forward
It was so in his first season, a time when the media were accused of enjoying his fight to impose his style on his City team. We did not enjoy it at all, only enjoying the view of a great coach who is facing a major challenge.
I hope it will be the same this summer and next season and afterwards. I hope we are witnessing a restart of Guardiola. I suspect I’m wrong, but I hope not.
People in City have moved mountains to give him the environment he demanded from Etihad. If he walks as soon as the wind changes, I am not sure what it would really say about him.
There is a point of view that says Liverpool’s defeat of Shrewsbury in the FA Cup has confirmed Jurgen Klopp’s decision not to attend the match.
The truth is that the result is not relevant.
Liverpool beat the League One club with a scratch-off on Anfield, which has somewhat calmed the debate about whether the first team manager should really be there.
Jurgen Klopp was not present for Liverpool’s FA Cup victory in the midweek – but it should have been
Yet he should have been categorical. Firstly, it is Klopp’s job to lead the team and someone at Anfield should have reminded him of that.
Secondly, what message does it send to the young players of Liverpool that the man they look up to above everyone else in the club did not like to interrupt his vacation to witness the greatest night of their career?
Fourth officials are actively encouraged to have a dialogue with managers on the sidelines, but it is difficult to see what they get out of it.
Jose Mourinho’s impression of a man who had left his cat in a burning house in Tottenham last weekend was perhaps a new low for the trade.
Mourinho looked more ridiculous than ever when he tried to get his dugout out to have Raheem Sterling leave. And the bar was already quite high.
Jose Mourinho was fuming that Raheem Sterling did not see a second booking last week
So what should be done about it? The managers are unable to control themselves and do not care enough about it anyway, while the competition referees think that their colleagues on the sidelines are a fair game for any form of intimidation and verbal flagellation.
The only answer is to get the fourth officials out of the line of fire. Ask them to stand somewhere else.
If the managers want to shout and shout, let them do it to each other. The rest of us can then continue with the game.
Sunday’s delay at Etihad Stadium due to Storm Ciara means that Manchester City is likely to have two games against Liverpool by the time they miss a Premier League match – to face Aston Villa in the Carabao Cup – final on 1 March.
If it is nothing else, it should serve to drag the title race another week or two.
Maybe we will come to Easter.
The Manchester City game against West Ham was postponed due to the impact of Storm Ciara