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Sport Pep Guardiola demanded grass be cut to exactly 19mm and walks around the training ground in his socks: The inside story of Manchester City's incredible Premier League title triumph

14:35  16 april  2018
14:35  16 april  2018 Source:   dailymail.co.uk

Guardiola frustrated by City's defensive struggles after Manchester derby defeat

  Guardiola frustrated by City's defensive struggles after Manchester derby defeat An unmarked Chris Smalling scored Manchester United's winner in a dramatic 3-2 victory, much to the frustration of the rival bossManchester City manager Pep Guardiola was left to rue his side's frailty from set-pieces after Manchester United came from two goals down to snatch a dramatic 3-2 win at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.

When Manchester City constructed a new circular dressing-room at the Etihad last summer, a line from Mancunian poet Tony Walsh was inscribed around the wall above the players’ heads.

‘Some were born here, others drawn here but we all call it home.’ The words from the poem This is the Place, that Walsh read out at a vigil for the victims of the Manchester Arena bombing last May, struck a chord with Pep Guardiola.

The Manchester City manager’s wife Cristina Serra and their two daughters, Valentina and Maria, were caught up in the atrocity at the Ariana Grande concert close to their city centre apartment.

a group of people watching a football game: Pep Guardiola has brought so much more than the Premier League title to the Etihad Stadium © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Pep Guardiola has brought so much more than the Premier League title to the Etihad Stadium

Pep Guardiola has brought so much more than the Premier League title to the Etihad Stadium

Guardiola: Premier League title will mean more than Champions League

  Guardiola: Premier League title will mean more than Champions League Pep Guardiola talked up Manchester City's exploits over the course of a gruelling Premier League campaign following their European exit.Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola insisted winning the Premier League will mean more to him than success in the Champions League following Saturday's victory at Tottenham.

a close up of text on a white background © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited

Guardiola took his family back to the venue when it reopened with the We Are Manchester benefit gig in September at the invitation of Noel Gallagher and visited his celebrity friend in the green room afterwards.

By then, it had become part of the matchday ritual at City that Oasis hit Wonderwall was played as the squad walked into the dressing-room every game without fail.

Guardiola felt the need to forge a stronger bond between his players and the club they represented. Amid the shattering aftermath of the bombing, he saw something uniquely Mancunian in the response of the city and its people.

He wanted Walsh’s words and Gallagher’s music to inspire his players; to make them appreciate what City meant to their supporters.

BREAKING NEWS: Manchester City crowned Premier League champions

  BREAKING NEWS: Manchester City crowned Premier League champions West Brom's shock win at Old Trafford means Manchester United's rivals Manchester City cannot be caught at the top of the Premier League.Manchester City have been crowned Premier League champions after their rivals Manchester United slumped to a shock 1-0 home loss to struggling West Brom on Sunday.

It offers an insight into the mind of Guardiola that goes beyond the perception of a football obsessive and control freak who cannot see beyond the white lines of the pitch.

That reputation is well-earned. The Spaniard’s attention to detail is like no other coach in world football.

When he first took over in the summer of 2016, Guardiola called a meeting with ground staff and stipulated that the grass at the Etihad and training pitches at the City Football Academy should be exactly 19 millimetres, as it had been at Barcelona and Bayern.

He was persuaded to relent on that demand because the grass doesn’t grow as quickly in Manchester, so the surface at the stadium is now allowed to grow to up to 23 millimetres.

a man standing on top of a grass covered field: Guardiola's attention to details has been most evident around the City Football Academy © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Guardiola's attention to details has been most evident around the City Football Academy

Guardiola's attention to details has been most evident around the City Football Academy

Silva reflects on 'most special' City title after premature birth of son

  Silva reflects on 'most special' City title after premature birth of son Family issues made it a difficult few months for David Silva, but that makes Manchester City's title triumph all the more special for him.Manchester City's Premier League title triumph this season is the "most special" of David Silva's career as he had to contend with the premature birth of his son.

a close up of a white wall: Guardiola wanted a circular dressing room to quash any cliques developing within his squad © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Guardiola wanted a circular dressing room to quash any cliques developing within his squad

Guardiola wanted a circular dressing room to quash any cliques developing within his squad

At the CFA, one pitch was dedicated to the ‘half space’, with the channel between the full-back and the centre-back on either side of the penalty area marked out so City can perfect their attacking strategy.

In the training ground itself, Guardiola is so comfortable that he is often seen walking through the corridors with his shoes off. The wifi was switched off in parts of the first-team building to encourage players to interact rather than disappear into their mobile phones.

For the same reason, Guardiola insisted on the more inclusive, round dressing-room when the Etihad was remodelled to incorporate the new Tunnel Club last summer. Togetherness off the pitch would be reflected on it.

Players’ diets were scrutinised. Those returning for pre-season overweight were made to train on their own.

The squad were instructed to dine together after games and often before training, with Guardiola’s former Barcelona nutritionist Silvia Tremoleda hired to oversee every aspect of the players’ food intake - even the likes of Kevin De Bruyne, Ilkay Gundogan and Kyle Walker who employ a private chef.

Silva reflects on 'most special' Man City title in tough year

  Silva reflects on 'most special' Man City title in tough year Family issues made it a difficult few months for the midfielder ,but that makes his team's Premier League title triumph all the more specialManchester City's Premier League title triumph this season is the "most special" of David Silva's career as he had to contend with the premature birth of his son.

Foreign players were told to learn English - Nicolas Otamendi and Aymeric Laporte are among those working towards their exams - so the manager could speak to his squad in one language, and the team were attired by Guardiola’s friends at fashion company Dsquared2.

Pep Guardiola holding a sign: Embracing the heritage of the club and that of the city of Manchester, he is already an icon © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Embracing the heritage of the club and that of the city of Manchester, he is already an icon

Embracing the heritage of the club and that of the city of Manchester, he is already an icon

While that may give the impression of a coach more concerned with micro - not man - management, it is not necessarily the case.

Following the premature birth of his baby son Mateo, David Silva was given compassionate leave to travel to Valencia throughout the season by a coach who prefers his players to stay at home with their families the night before games rather than sleep in hotel accommodation at the CFA.

After City crashed out of the FA Cup at League One underdogs Wigan in February, Guardiola gave them the day off to go paintballing.

Last season, after a painful 4-0 defeat to Everton, he took them to watch La La Land at the cinema.

At the club’s Christmas party at Menagerie restaurant and bar, the manager and his backroom staff danced long into the night with 500 members of staff while £55million signing Benjamin Mendy played alcohol-free beer pong with a group of young graduates from the club’s London offices.

Guardiola thanks 'unique' City staff in celebration speech

  Guardiola thanks 'unique' City staff in celebration speech Pep Guardiola delivered a celebratory speech to his players and staff after clinching the Premier League title.Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has paid tribute to the club's behind-the-scenes staff in a speech to mark their Premier League triumph.

A coach who won 21 trophies in seven years at Barcelona and Bayern could have been forgiven for not getting carried away by lifting the Carabao Cup, but Guardiola organised a champagne reception for staff at the training ground following the team’s victory over Arsenal to thank them for helping him lift his first trophy in England.

Now he has added the Premier League title, making up for a barren first season in England that led to some people questioning City’s faith in the Pep project.

a group of people posing for the camera: The Carabao Cup may be a footnote on his CV, but Guardiola made sure his staff were thanked © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited The Carabao Cup may be a footnote on his CV, but Guardiola made sure his staff were thanked

The Carabao Cup may be a footnote on his CV, but Guardiola made sure his staff were thanked

EARLIEST PREMIER LEAGUE TITLE WINS

00-01 Man United (14/04/2001)

17-18 Man City (15/04/2018)

99-00 Man United (22/04/2000)

12-13 Man United (22/04/2013)

03-04 Arsenal (25/04/2004)

The club never wavered. Guardiola’s relationship with City chief executive Ferran Soriano and director of football Txiki Begiristain is solid enough that when the club walked away from deals for Alexis Sanchez and Riyad Mahrez in January, there was no grumbling from the coach.

In contrast, it’s said that City officials watched open-mouthed as Jose Mourinho delivered his ‘football heritage’ rant in the wake of Manchester United’s Champions League exit at the hands of Sevilla last month, having joked with Liverpool executives on the Easyjet flight out to Switzerland for the quarter-final draw in Nyon that the front row seats booked by United were empty.

Guardiola thanks 'unique' Man City staff in title celebration speech

  Guardiola thanks 'unique' Man City staff in title celebration speech The coach thanked his players and staff for their "unbelievable effort" in helping his side clinch the Premier League titleManchester City manager Pep Guardiola has paid tribute to the club's behind-the-scenes staff in a speech to mark their Premier League triumph.

City continued to entrust Guardiola with more than £450m in less than two years to rebuild the squad and mould it to the way he wants to play.

He has brought in Ederson, Mendy, Walker, Danilo, Laporte, Gundogan, Gabriel Jesus, Leroy Sane and Bernardo Silva, raising the standard and reducing the age of his squad.

The club believed in his gift to improve players, and not always his own as bemused Southampton winger Nathan Redmond discovered in November.

It says much for Guardiola’s ability in this department that even senior stars like Sergio Aguero, David Silva and De Bruyne have taken their game to a new level.

The younger ones have benefitted too. Raheem Sterling describes how the manager told him to stop controlling the ball on the outside of his foot because it slow him down. The England winger has scored 22 goals this season, double his previous best.

a group of people standing on top of a grass covered field: Raheem Sterling has been transformed in two seasons under the coaching of Guardiola © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Raheem Sterling has been transformed in two seasons under the coaching of Guardiola

Raheem Sterling has been transformed in two seasons under the coaching of Guardiola

a group of football players on a field: David Silva has flourished as well despite being granted as much leave as he needs for his son © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited David Silva has flourished as well despite being granted as much leave as he needs for his son

David Silva has flourished as well despite being granted as much leave as he needs for his son

Sane claims Guardiola has changed his game completely, turning him into one of the most devastating attackers in the Premier League.

They belong to a vibrant group of players, hungry for success and with enough energy required to execute the high-pressing game plan so central to the manager’s ethos.

Guardiola has been criticised for sticking to it too rigidly in recent weeks, but there is no doubt how well it has served City over the course of the season.

When he spoke to his players during the half-time interval at Huddersfield in November, they were facing their first league defeat of the season and an embarrassing one at that.

Manchester City boss Guardiola aiming to smash records following title triumph

  Manchester City boss Guardiola aiming to smash records following title triumph Manchester City must keep their focus following their Premier League triumph and target new records, claims Pep Guardiola.Pep Guardiola has told his title-winning Manchester City side to keep improving and set new records.

The message was simple. Stick to the plan, even if it means losing the game.. It will pay off in the long run.

a close up of a football field: Guardiola arrived at Manchester City with so much expectation, but has still exceeded it © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Guardiola arrived at Manchester City with so much expectation, but has still exceeded it

For the first time in nearly 23 years, City overturned a half-time deficit to win away in the Premier League.

It was the first of four 2-1 league victories in a row that broke the hearts of their rivals who were hoping the title charge might slow up as winter approached.

Huddersfield, Southampton and West Ham succumbed to late goals, and United were outclassed at Old Trafford as City proved they have the character to match their charisma.

That night, it was interesting to think back to City’s friendly with United in Houston last July when they were well beaten and Ederson blundered on his debut.

‘There were some very good things,’ said an upbeat Guardiola afterwards. ‘We’re going to grow up.’ No-one, not even Guardiola himself, could have imagined just how quickly it would happen.

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Manchester City boss Guardiola aiming to smash records following title triumph .
Manchester City must keep their focus following their Premier League triumph and target new records, claims Pep Guardiola.Pep Guardiola has told his title-winning Manchester City side to keep improving and set new records.

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