Dogs-of-War

Dear Pep

On behalf of all of us City fans, I’d like to express my sincere appreciation for the many ways that you have transformed our club. Even just having you in position as our coach has done wonders for our European and Global profile, but the way you are educating Manchester City in positional play is really effecting a break from the dark old days of English football and making people sit up and take notice of us.

Thank you for Leroy Sane. Thank you for the continuing reboot of Raheem Sterling. Thank you for John Stones. Thank you for the integration in your system of our more experienced heroes like Kolarov, Silva and Toure. Thank you for teaching Kevin De Bruyne another way of winning.

We know it’s been hard for you to sit through so many press conferences having to bite your lip and diplomatically shower praise on guys we all know we have to get rid of in the summer. (Clichy, Navas, Zaba, Sagna, Nolito etc)

However you have also said that you are here to learn.

We hope that, even if not in public, you have privately conceded that a measure of pragmatism is going to be needed to win this more competitive league.

And it is more competitive.

With the added bonus prizes of fixture congestion and no Winter break.

You adapted your philosophy to the continual counter-attacks you had to face in the Bundesliga and we trust you will also adapt to the Premier League’s unique selling points: i.e. pinball anarchy on wet Wednesday nights in Stoke, massed ranks of defenders parking the bus in front of goal, ill-disguised violence marketed as ‘passion’ and howlingly awful refereeing decisions.

It should be clear by now that in addition to the balletic skills of Sterling and Sane, we need a measure of physical robustness.

We need a ruthless streak.

And a little bit of height too, if our set pieces (particularly corner kicks) are to be converted to goals once in a blue moon.

We need a couple of on-pitch leaders.

Rabble rousers.

Ugly, aggressive, in-your-face, hairy-arsed, gutsy win-at-all-cost types. Guys who can put their foot on the ball and alter the pace of a game.

You don’t have to use them in every game. You can keep them on a leash for many games or for long periods in many games.

However if you want to win this competition, in these circumstances, it’s not going to be enough to mass-purchase slim, handsome, coiffed 21 year-olds with coloured boots that look like Roger Federer, no matter how good at passing they are.

We need a couple of dogs of war.

One in central defence and one in centre-mid should do the trick.

Sincerely,

The Blue

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