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Brendan Rodgers’ and Jamie Vardy’s past comments about Pep Guardiola should encourage Man City

Brendan Rodgers' and Jamie Vardy's past comments about Pep Guardiola should encourage Man City

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Newcastle’s huge takeover was bound to see them linked with similar players to Manchester City given the new financial power available at St James’ Park, and that competition appears to also concern managerial appointments according to new reports.

No, Pep Guardiola isn’t going to take over at Newcastle just yet, but he will be leaving City at some point.

Currently under contract until 2023, Guardiola has hinted at leaving past that date, but equally not ruled out another extension. Guardiola is already at a club for the longest spell in his career, and while he’s earned the right to decide when he wants to leave, he has also repeatedly stressed that he won’t outstay his welcome.

That could be why reports of Brendan Rodgers being in the frame to succeed him at City have surfaced this week, with the highly-rated Leicester boss said to be ready to reject any approach from Newcastle as he wants to be the chosen one to replace Guardiola at the Etihad.

For all Newcastle’s future potential, Rodgers would know there is no contest between building on Guardiola’s success at City compared to starting a completely fresh project at Newcastle. He’s arguably still got unfinished business at Leicester after two years of narrowly missing out on Champions League qualification.

Rodgers is no stranger to City, especially after leading Leicester to some impressive performances and results against the Blues. Going into this season’s tight contest at the King Power Stadium, he was full of praise for City and for Guardiola, choosing to centre his comments on tactics rather than general platitudes.

“Pep’s an incredible coach, a pioneer for the modern game,” Rodgers said last month.

“It’s about numbers, creating overloads, but principally looking to have the ball as much as they can. He’s always had little slants about where the full-backs are.

“Manchester City are a team of talented players with a talented coach who can maximise what he gets out of those players. They’re an incredible team. They have the world’s best manager, so it’s always a huge challenge. Their squad play the best positional game.

“They have the technique and hunger, and that’s why they’ve been so successful. You know you are going to be restricted on the ball, but when you have it, it’s having that confidence. You have to be concentrated.

“They have special talents who can make the difference. You need to defend well, play well, get a bit of luck, and take the opportunities. We will look to be competitive.”

Guardiola was also full of praise for Rodgers, perhaps reflecting the reported admiration from within City for the work his Leicester counterpart has done at the King Power.

Issuing perhaps the ultimate compliment, Guardiola said: “For the last however many years Leicester are one of the top contenders – a top-class team. I am a big fan of their manager; I learn a lot watching his teams.

“They have top sporting directors; they sign perfectly well for what they need and Leicester away is always a tough game.”

The Community Shield win earlier this season gave the Foxes a trophy, but maybe Rodgers’ best result against City was the 5-2 demolition at the Etihad last season.

After that game, striker Jamie Vardy outlined how Rodgers had devised a simple, but effective gameplan to stop Guardiola’s men from playing.

“We knew we weren’t going to have too much of the ball so we set up to infuriate them and make sure the likes of Rodri got as little of the ball,” Vardy said.

“We weren’t worried, they got a great goal but we knew if we stuck to our plan we’d have chances. We got them and stuck them away.

“Sometimes the gaffer asks me to stay away from the ball, today it was different. Drop in and do a man-marking job on Rodri. I didn’t have much of the ball but it was great to get a win.

“To beat Man City you have to run like hell. So you have to have that mentality. The tactical discipline was good and because of the counter press you have to get your passes off quick.

“We fell behind to a brilliant finish. We showed good composure and stayed calm and showed enough that we could cause them a problem.

“It was a brilliant performance and result. It has taken me 13 years to play that way. I’m very much about attacking and being aggressive. I always try to be positive but I need to think of other ways to get results in theses games.

“Bringing the game into our half of the field, block off one of their midfielders and you have to be good in the transition to get two or three passes to get out. We took out the press from the goal kicks and went direct but overall the players had to work very hard.”

So Rodgers already knows something most managers don’t – how to beat City. If the recent reports are to be believed, the next question might be whether he can lead them himself.





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