Three players Pep Guardiola could have handled better at Manchester City

Gabriel Jesus reacts after missing a scoring chance during the FA Cup match between Manchester City and Liverpool at Wembley Stadium on April 16, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Visionhaus//Getty Images)
Gabriel Jesus reacts after missing a scoring chance during the FA Cup match between Manchester City and Liverpool at Wembley Stadium on April 16, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Visionhaus//Getty Images) /
Pep Guardiola has had some wonderful success at Manchester City. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images) /

Pep Guardiola is the greatest manager in the world of football at the moment. His achievements speak for themselves. The 51-year-old Spaniard is one of the few active managers to have won two UEFA Champions League titles.

Besides, he has also won La Liga and the the Bundesliga with Barcelona and Bayern Munich, respectively, and has virtually made a mockery of the competition during his stint with Manchester City, winning four Premier League titles in five years.

There are a significant number of players who have prospered under Guardiola’s tutelage. The likes of Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta, Sergio Busquets, Kevin De Bruyne, Jordi Alba, Raheem Sterling, Phil Foden and Ilkay Gundogan have all improved as players under his coaching.

Erling Haaland is the most recent addition to the above list as City’s new signing  continues to take the Premier League by storm this season.

However, every great man is bound to have a few foibles and Guardiola is no exception in that regard. He is prone to having a big ego at times and there are a few players he could have handled better at Manchester City:

Here are three such players who might have had better success with the Citizens if Pep had managed them differently:

#1 Gabriel Jesus

Yes, Jesus scored 95 goals in 236 matches during his six-year stint at Manchester City and he was definitely not a failure. Still, those numbers could have been significantly better if he were played in his favorite position (centre forward) more often.

Jesus was supposed to be the long-term replacement for Sergio Aguero at City and started on a very promising note, scoring 7 goals in 11 matches in his first season.

However, as time progressed, Guardiola started using him as a winger more often, playing Sterling as the centre-forward.

To make matters worse, Jesus often started on the bench during the past few seasons and did not have enough game time.

His goal-scoring instincts have been rekindled while playing as the front-man for Arsenal this season and his work rate has been exceptional, too. He already has 5 goals and a 5 assists for the Gunners this season and one becomes inclined to question Guardiola’s usage of the 25-year-old Brazilian.

#2 Kyle Walker

Walker is still a part of the Manchester City squad and is in his sixth season with the club. However, he has often spent time on the bench of late and is only getting more game time this season because of Oleksandr Zinchenko’s departure.

Walker played in only 31 matches last season and the brilliant Joao Cancelo was often preferred over him while choosing the starting 11.

Walker’s performance graph for City has been quite stagnant, unlike those of his English teammates like Foden, Sterling, Jack Grealish and John Stones.

Guardiola, who has the habit of making better performers out of his players, could not quite do so with Walker, whose primary strength still remains his exceptional speed. He is physically strong, too, but his crossing and passing have not improved much.

#3 Ferran Torres

Torres had all the ingredients for success at Manchester City. He was young, skillful and had the privilege of being coached by the best manager in the world, who was also his compatriot. Still, his career at City never quite picked up.

Despite playing in 36 matches for the Citizens in his debut season, Torres could only play in seven matches the following season until being signed by Barcelona in the January transfer window.

Torres is comfortable playing as the right winger and has the ability to cut in from the flank using his enviable dribbling skills. Still, quite surprisingly, Guardiola made him play as the centre-forward on a few occasions and an injury aggravated the situation.

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Torres does not often make it to the starting 11 for Barcelona either and one tends to wonder whether the youngster could have been handled better by Guardiola.