Pep Guardiola “won’t be friendly with anybody” in the media at Manchester City, according to Guillem Balague.
After it was announced in February that he would replace Manuel Pellegrini as City manager in the summer, Guardiola was unveiled by the club on Sunday.
The former Bayern Munich and Barcelona manager arrives with a reputation as one of the leading minds in world football, and is expected to deliver trophies at the Etihad.
However, Guardiola became known for his dealings with the media during his time at Bayern in particular, with the 45-year-old often abrasive and standoffish when questioned.
Speaking to The Set Pieces, Spanish football expert Balague has said that the “perfectionist” will “never win” with the notoriously difficult media in England.
“Why is it that Pep Guardiola brings that kind of vitriol, and people try to link the word ‘failed’ with him?” Balague asked. “I’m not sure 100%, but I think (it’s because) he offers something new, and people are scared of new things.
“He also offers a depth in work and understanding of the game that is not usual. Most people say ‘Ah, football is simple, don’t over-complicate it’. Then when he loses a game it’s like ‘See, he’s failed’, but not just like he’s lost a game, he’s failed with his idea of football. So there’s a little bit of envy, a bit of misunderstanding.
“His search for perfection, which is admirable and something to praise, it’s disliked by some people. The club don’t think he’s been a failure, he doesn’t think he’s been a failure. Failure is such a big word, if he’s failed for having got to three semi-finals of the Champions League then you have to say that 99.9% of coaches in the history of football have failed. Do you really want to put that next to the name of so many coaches? It’s fascinating to see the reaction, but I think it comes from all that.
“You’re going to find something that happened in Munich: he doesn’t open up. He won’t do off-the-records, he won’t talk to anybody on the phone, he won’t be friendly with anybody. The English media will accept that for a while.
“But because he’s not going to build bridges with the media, he never wins. He’s aware of that. He doesn’t want to build those bridges because his job is on the training ground. He will be in the press conference for as long as he’s needed to talk about football. The problem is that not many people want to talk about football in press conferences.
“I’m not sure that’s going to go well, but I would say to fans, especially those of Manchester City, that if you can listen to him. See what he does and try to understand what he does. And try to find people who will explain, via the media, what he does. Because if people only want to provoke him, you’re going to end up missing out on what it is to be one of the biggest brains in football.”