Thierry Henry gave a fascinating insight into how Pep Guardiola and Manchester City proved their doubters wrong from last season to win the Premier League title.
City’s third title win in seven seasons was confirmed on Super Sunday after West Brom’s shock 1-0 win at Manchester United, Guardiola’s first in his second season at the Etihad.
Henry, who played under Guardiola in a successful stint at Barcelona, gave his verdict on the key areas of the manager’s thinking this season…
Kompany the key
When Vincent Kompany talks, he’s eloquent, intelligent, knows the game, is a good player and a great leader. It’s exactly what you want from him.
He’s had a difficult couple years with injuries, but he never gave up, was always there for the team with a smile.
It’s very important to have these types of players to win titles. We saw it at the end of John Terry’s career at Chelsea. You can always rely on Vincent Kompany, on what he can bring.
How Pep defends
Kyle Walker coming, Ederson coming made a massive difference. But there was only one way Pep Guardiola was going to set up his side and play.
Most of the time he wants to play that offensive football. He values not conceding a lot. People always talk about possession, but when he talks about defending, he will tell you to stay in your position and not lose the ball.
You don’t hear that often with other managers; when they talk about defending, they talk about shape, how you set up the line, how high you defend. Pep says: ‘Do not lose the ball and stay in your position.’ And you see that when they play.
Why can’t Pep dominate?
There is no right or wrong in football, because it has been proven you can win the league and cups in many different ways.
This way is the way I like to see the game played, and I’m not surprised at what Pep has done in this league.
I was one of the people who said stop having a go at Pep, because that’s how he plays. And why can’t he dominate this league playing the way he plays?
The ball is faster!
The ball travels with Manchester City. The ball is always faster than anyone else. Stay in your position, and you have a plan.
You can, therefore, stop the counter-attack if you lose the ball, or you can facilitate one at the other end. It’s another way of playing the game. Play simple, be direct at times, and run in behind.
It’s how they’ve won it, especially when people were saying they cannot do it this way.