Football

Guardiola pays price for arrogance: Schmeichel

City boss paying the price for insisting on his style of football, says Schmeichel

Pep Guardiola was hailed as the best thing to happen to English football when he took over Manchester City at the start of this season and immediately swept all before him with 10 victories in a row.

Yet, if that all seemed too good to be true, City fans now know it really was. In the subsequent 15 matches in all competitions, Guardiola's (right) team have won just four times.

One of those was a stellar night against Barcelona, but they have too often flattered to deceive.

If that was not worrying enough, the 4-2 defeat by Leicester City yesterday morning (Singapore time) was alarming, a shambolic performance with a striking absence of the pass-and-move crispness of the best Guardiola teams and showcasing serious defensive deficiencies.

Manchester United legend Peter Schmeichel didn't hold back in his criticism of Guardiola and the City defence.

"A very arrogant man. That is a man saying, 'I know best. My way of playing football is the best'," Schmeichel, who also featured for the Citizens before ending his playing career, told The Metro.

He added: "Every manager who has won the Premier League has always got the defence right. Every single one has had a proper goalkeeper."

Jamie Carragher also poured scorn on the quality of City's back four after a first half at the King Power Stadium that saw them ship three goals against an out-of-form Leicester.

Jamie Vardy's second goal, which was Leicester's third, took Man City to 18 in the goals-against column for the season, and Carragher was quick to criticise Guardiola's backline.

"Defensively, Man City are one of the worst teams in the league, all over the place," Carragher wrote in The Independent. "Spent hundreds of millions on defenders and not one good enough."

The former Liverpool defender also questioned Guardiola's tactics, suggesting that the manager was making life more difficult for his defence.

"Those defenders are not helped by the tactics of the manager playing a back three as it exposes them even more, and the goalkeeper (Claudio Bravo)who's poor."

BT Sports pundit Richard Dunne, an uncompromising defender in his days with the Citizens, criticised his former team's first-half display.

The pundit even called for his ex-teammate Joe Hart to return from his loan in Torino to help fix the mess in the City backline.

"You're watching it and every time Leicester come forward, you think they are going to score," Dunne told The Sunday Mail.

"City are wide open. (For the first goal) it's one long ball, a great pass through by (Riyad)Mahrez but City are playing into Leicester's hands.

SHOCKING

Robbie Savage agreed with his fellow pundit, calling City's defending "shocking".

'There's no shape, there's no leader on the pitch organising it. Even as far back as the goalkeeper, there doesn't look like there's any communication.

"Joe Hart is one person who always spoke for Manchester City. You could always hear him and maybe someone like him would sort them out defensively." - WIRE SERVICES

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