JACK GAUGHAN: Pre-season with Pep Guardiola is the perfect hangover cure for Treble winners Manchester City
- Pep Guardiola is pushing his team hard ahead of the new domestic season
- Man City have a huge task to beat last season’s historic Treble winning efforts
- Kalvin Phillips and John Stones have offered a glimpse of what the preseason is like
Kalvin Phillips offered an insight the other week when he explained what a pre-season under Pep Guardiola is like.
“When I was at Leeds with Marcelo Bielsa, we were running around the pitch,” he said. ‘I was getting used to it. I’ve come here and it’s all ball work in short, sharp bursts and tight spaces. These sessions are very hard.
It has long been known that Manchester City settled on the first day, but the presumption was that this made it easier for City to come back. Clearly not, and this serves to contextualize why Guardiola tends to give his players longer holidays than their rivals, although that was not an option this year given their Treble exploits stretched into June.
Still, the Community Shield at Wembley is less than two weeks away and City have completed just four full training sessions and one game. The club will be hoping Rondo’s death and Guardiola’s turn to Bielsa’s killer ball will shape them in the humid 35C heat of Tokyo, before they move to South Korea later this week.
“It’s my eighth year now so I’m used to it, it’s part and parcel of the coach’s identity, our identity as a team,” John Stones said.
Pep Guardiola is making his Manchester City squad work hard ahead of next season
His side have a huge task ahead of them to match last season’s historic Treble winning efforts
Kalvin Phillips (pictured) has offered an insight into what pre-season is like at Man City
“When we look at the stats and what we’re doing day-to-day, it’s like running a session, we do everything with the ball.
“I think it’s an advantage for all of us because we stay mentally focused, knowing our roles and responsibilities and knowing what is being asked of us.
“It’s about getting back the rhythm and the little habits that we were so good at last season, we don’t miss that time while training because we’re on the ball, we’re fit.”
Stones danced again in midfield during the 5-3 win over sister club Yokohama F. Marinos on Sunday, scoring City’s first goal, and looks set to excel in that role again this season. There is a cloud of uncertainty over a trio of big names — Kyle Walker, Bernardo Silva and Aymeric Laporte — with Walker wearing the captain’s armband for the first friendly. Bayern Munich suitors are tomorrow.
Manchester City secured a thrilling 5-3 win over Yokohama F.Marinos on Sunday
Man City are back on pace with a tough challenge ahead next season
“Hopefully, everyone stays,” said Nathan Ake, who almost joined Chelsea this time last year. The remaining core, with Riyad Mahrez set to follow Ilkay Gundogan on the way out, is crucial, and so is getting rid of any glory hangovers.
“The manager already caught it, he doesn’t want anyone to slip or be too casual,” added Ake. ‘Now it’s about us. How can we do the same again? We have already seen the last days of training, everyone is still running and I think that is positive.
‘Over the years, when we are pressuring teams, we come with energy and don’t let them breathe. If we leave this, then you lower the levels.’