Guardiola rubbishes tiki-taka in new book
Tiki-taka is rubbish.
These are not the words of Jose Mourinho, or an old school English manager, tired of being told of the supremacy of the European game.
They're the words of Pep Guardiola, the man most clearly associated with developing the concept.
And that's just one line from a new book that is likely to be on the reading list of everyone in the game.
The English edition of Pep Confidential, written by Marti Perarnau and published by Backpage Press, looks an extraordinary book, one that gets as close to the inner workings of a football club as any book since Hunter Davies' legendary The Glory Game, first published in 1972.
Even the best journalists in the UK find that their access to teams, managbroers and players is heavily restricted.
That's definitely not the case here.
Author Perarnau was given complete access to Guardiola during his first season at Bayern Munich, with the only condition being that he didn't breathe a word about it to anyone during the campaign.
The result will certainly bust some of the more frequently repeated myths about the Spanish coach.
"I loathe all that passing for the sake of it, all that tiki-taka," Guardiola was quoted as saying in the book.
"It's so much rubbish and has no purpose. You have to pass the ball with clear intention and aim to make it into the opposition's goal.
"It's not about passing for the sake of it. Don't believe what people say. Barca didn't do tiki-taka! It's completely made up! Don't believe a word of it!
"In all team sports, the secret is to overload one side of the pitch so the opponent must tilt its defence to cope.
"You overload on one side to leave the other side weak.
"When we've done all that, we attack and score from the other side.
"That's why you need to pass the ball, but only if you are doing it with a clear intention."
Unlike the Roy Keane book, Pep Confidential is less about controversy, dark humour and score-settling.
It's far more about the mechanics of managing a football club, the day-to-day business, the way that key people operate.
For the football purist, that makes it one of the most fascinating reads of the season.
Finally, a book about football, and not about personalities.
And there are clues too as to why Guardiola turned his nose up at the resources of Manchester City and Chelsea, and chose to restart his career in Germany with Bayern Munich.
But one thing strikes you as you read these extracts.
Would Mourinho ever allow anyone to have so much access to his inner sanctum?
Would he allow his methods to be so exposed to scrutiny?
The book itself is compelling enough.
The reaction to its publication, particularly in a certain part of west London, will be even more interesting.
- Tiki-taka is a style of play characterised by short passing and movement, working the ball through various channels, and maintaining possession. The style is primarily associated with Barcelona from Johan Cruyff’s time as coach till now, and the Spanish national team under coaches Luis Aragones and Vicente del Bosque. - Wikipedia
Pep Confidential: The Inside Story Of Pep Guardiola's First Season At Bayern Munich (above) is out now in paperback and ebook published by BackPage Press and Arena Sports. PHOTO: BACKPAGE PRESS
ON MAN UNITED
"The day after beating Real Madrid in the Champions League semi-final, Guardiola and (Manuel) Estiarte (Guardiola's personal assistant) travelled to Manchester to watch their next opponent in action.
"It was May 4, 2011, and the pair sat together in the stands of Old Trafford watching Sir Alex Ferguson's team beat Schalke 4-1... Pep had turned to his friend and said, 'I like this atmosphere. I could see myself coaching here one day'.
"Guardiola has always felt a deep admiration, almost veneration, for the legendary teams and players of Europe."
ON BAYERN MUNICH
"It is October 2012 and in New York, Maria, Marius and Valentina, Pep's three children, are still struggling to learn English and adjust to life at their new school. The Catalan coach's phone is ringing off the hook with job offers.
"(Txiki) Begiristain's Manchester City are still keen, and very insistent. (Roman) Abramovich is deploying all his charm. He wants Pep and is prepared to mould the team to his specifications. The Germans, too, are determined, although their pitch is slightly lower key and to the point.
"It is now that, in one of their FaceTime chats, Guardiola tells his friend and colleague, 'Prepare yourself Manuel. I've chosen Bayern'."
In October 2012 in New York, Guardiola had chatted with Garry Kasparov about how to attack the adversary in chess and other sports, and Kasparov had told him: "You wouldn't attack in the same way from a mountain top as you would from wide open countryside."
Guardiola had also dined in New York at the end of 2012 with Ferran Adria, the gastronomic genius who was about to close his restaurant El Bulli.
The chef told him: "Pep, you're more than a coach, you're a great innovator."
The coach had responded: "Look Ferran, all I do is look at the footage of our opponents and then try to work out how to demolish them (in actual fact he used a rather more prosaic and somewhat obscene term).
"All I do is study my arsenal of weapons and pick the ones I need for each occasion."
ON POST-GAME ANALYSIS
"Pep always likes to see the whole match and we load it on to his computer as soon as the match is over.
"He might then look at the whole game or watch the particular moves we've categorised, either player by player, or by type of move, or under different tactical headings.
"He'll also find my notes there, both details from the match and specific things we've agreed to watch out for.
"As well as getting the match broken down like this, Pep likes to review the match himself and he produces his own analysis."
ON JUDGING PLAYERS
"One night I'm accompanied by Patricia Gonzalez, the very young coach of the Azerbaijan Under-19 women's team. During the dinner, Pep gazes at her and says: "Patricia, I'll give you some advice: always pick the good ones. Always!"
"The young coach then asks him a really good question. "Pep, who are the good ones? Is it the most famous players?"
"No. The really good players are the ones who never lose the ball. Those who know how to pass it and who never lose it. They are the good ones. And that's who you must always use, even if they are lower profile than the rest."
ON LOSS TO REAL MADRID
"I got it wrong, man. I got it totally wrong. It's a monumental f***-up. A total mess. The biggest f***-up of my life as a coach," screamed Guardiola after Bayern were thrashed 4-0 for a 5-0 aggregate loss to Real Madrid in this year's Champions League semi-finals.
Among Guardiola's mistakes were changing his tactics to a more attacking formation and moving Philipp Lahm from midfield to right back.