City Xtra Morning Round-up – 2/5/19

Pep & Mendy in Barcelona, Observing Destruction

City Manager Pep Guardiola, and wingback Benjamin Mendy took in a brilliant match between La Liga leaders, Barcelona and Premier League challengers, Liverpool. The match was a tight one-nil affair until the 75th minute when one diminutive Argentian magician took matters into his own hands, or feet as it were, and put the match to rest, walking in a second before driving a nail into Liverpool’s European coffin, beating Allisson with a 30+ yard free kick into the top right postage stamp that most mortal beings couldn’t strike in their flightiest of fantasies.

Guardiola was ostensibly there to enjoy watching his former side in an important match, while perhaps taking some mental notes for future matchups with either side, but surely he must also be just the slightest bit relieved that he won’t be having to face Messi for at least another eight months. You can talk all you want about ‘relishing challenges,’ but Messi isn’t so much a challenge as he is a 67kg bottle of Napalm, leaving behind nothing but scorched Earth and the charred remains of would-be defenders.

God help the living.

Jose Mourinho, Still Whinging

Oh Jose, the gift that keeps on giving. Last night in the lead up to the aforementioned Champions League matchup, Mourinho claimed that he would’ve achieved similar success to Guardiola at City, and Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool if only the bosses at Manchester United had backed him in the way that his Premier League rivals were, stating, “I would love to go to a club and be in conditions to do what Jurgen and Pep did.”

“If you look at the [Liverpool] team that started the game, how many of them were there when Jurgen arrived? A couple,” he said. 

“And when Pep was not happy with the full-backs he had and in the summer bought four full-backs that he liked.  

“When he bought one goalkeeper like Claudio Bravo and was not happy with Claudio Bravo, the next season he bought Ederson. 

“When Jurgen is in the club and wins absolutely nothing for three-and-a-half years and he still has the trust, still has the confidence, still has the conditions to try to keep going and going.”

I know Jose, I know. It’s unfair. If only United had backed you with £400m in two and a half seasons. Certainly you can’t be seen as bearing any culpability for spending £230m of that on the esteemed quintet of Fred, Nemanja Matic, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Romelu Lukaku, and Alexis Sanchez. 

With judgement like that, it’s hard to imagine why they wouldn’t have backed you further. Thankfully there seems to be little need to fret for Jose, as it seems he’s learned much from this experience, declaring, “In my next job I will not be starting a conversation without knowing exactly what the club wants and what the club has to give in terms of structure and the club objectives.”

To think, if only someone had thought to ask those questions before signing on Manchester United, all this silliness may have been avoided.

Otamendi Headed to Valencia?

Rumors continue to swirl that 2017/18 Premier League Team of the Year defender Nicolas Otamendi could be headed for the exists this summer with the defender said to be unhappy at the amount of playing time he’s received, and if recent word from Goal’s Sam Lee is to be believed (and at this point, why wouldn’t it be?) he’s looking at a move to Valencia. He’s also been linked with Inter this spring, and should a move materialize, it could leave City looking to options from without (de Ligt, anyone?) or perhaps from within, with Guardiola being known to think highly of young Spanish defender Eric Garcia. 

One major impediment to any Otamendi move will be his wages, which clubs such as Inter or Valencia would have a hard time swallowing whole. Then again, with Atletico Madrid, current employers of City target Rodri, are rumoured to be interested, then things could be about to get interesting…

You can follow the author on Twitter here: @EttingerCorey

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