Friday 21 July 2017 / 12:49 AM

SEASON SLIPPING AWAY FOR TINKERMAN PEP

By now you’ve seen that Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City side were humbled at the King Power Stadium on Saturday, going 2-0 down inside the first four minutes against Leicester City, conceding four goals in total and generally looking extremely amateur.

The result has left Man City seven points shy of league leaders Chelsea and a mountain to climb if they are serious about winning the Premier League; something which seems highly unlikely even at this early stage.

Now, just to be clear, this won’t be what the City hierarchy (and indeed the fans) would have anticipated when they announced the appointment of Guardiola nearly 12 months ago.

Pep was the man that was supposed to come in and get them winning whilst playing beautiful football.

The man who was going to help them compete seriously on both domestic and European fronts.

What they’ve received so far is a highly inconsistent manager who is inflexible, can only play one system and – at last count – has used 50 different players as well as numerous different formations.

The Guardiola supporters would say that Pep is just experimenting and that he doesn’t know his best team yet, but when you’ve spent close to £200 million on players, those sorts of excuses just don’t fly.

Pep took over one of the richest clubs in the world, and a club that has won the Premier League in the last five years. A club with an array of some of the best footballers on the planet, which he has added substantially to.

That doesn’t leave you much room for experimentation.

Like it or not, Guardiola’s philosophy and much vaunted ‘system’ mean very little if the Spaniard does not get City results. The City board have shown themselves to be very ruthless in the past; no more so than in the case of Manuel Pellegrini, who was given his marching orders despite having brought the title back to the Etihad.

Pep might kid himself that the board want him to improve the style of football – and there might be a grain of truth in that. But what he must also realise is that this is a results business.

If you don’t get results, you don’t stick around, whatever your philosophy is. It’s as simple as that.

Guardiola may have kidded himself that he has ‘time’, and the likelihood is that he will be given all of this season and the start of the next. But what he needs to know is that if the City board don’t see a marked improvement in consistent and sustainable results, he’ll be out of the door, regardless of what he has on his CV.

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Seb Greenwood

CBS’s longest-serving contributor, Englishman Seb is our leading football correspondent, pulling no punches with his opinions on the Premier League and the international scene.

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