Think about telling Pep Guardiola a decade in the past he would not be lifting the European Cup once more.
The wait goes on.
Thrice falling quick in campaigns with Bayern Munich. Now a fifth failure with Manchester Metropolis.
For all his teaching genius, Guardiola will be too intelligent for his personal good.
A 10-year wait to return to a Champions League remaining — after the second of his Barcelona successes — is a very long time to spend serious about methods to carry the cup once more. And overthinking, if the technique to tackle Chelsea was something to go by on Saturday.
“I did what’s the finest for the sport,” Guardiola mentioned. “We struggled somewhat bit for the lengthy balls they use — the second ball and after they run. In that second you want the inspiration, the standard.”
Tinkering for the most important sport in Metropolis’s historical past, the unfamiliar lineup despatched out by Guardiola was overwhelmed by a coach in solely his 30th match accountable for Chelsea.
As Metropolis awaits its first European title, Thomas Tuchel delivered Chelsea’s second solely 4 months after changing Frank Lampard. Make no mistake: Metropolis had nobody guilty however itself on an evening when it had just one shot on course as Chelsea received 1-Zero in Porto.
Possibly little shock then that Sheikh Mansour did not flip up in Portugal to attend what would have been his second recognized match since shopping for Metropolis 13 years in the past.
Even with all of the money Metropolis’s Abu Dhabi possession has lavished on Guardiola to form the squad in his personal guise, there is a brutal actuality. He is nonetheless not received the Champions League with out a group containing Lionel Messi.
How in another way issues may have been if Messi had been in a position to drive his means out of Barcelona as deliberate. Time for one more summer time pursuit of the 33-year-old Argentine, maybe? Prizing the unsettled Harry Kane from Tottenham may take $200 million.
We have used to Metropolis enjoying with out strikers. But, within the determined seek for an equalizer, Gabriel Jesus after which Sergio Aguero have been despatched on.
There could be no fairytale ending for Aguero with a repeat of the late drama that noticed him clinch Metropolis’s first Premier League title in 2012. The Premier League trophy has been lifted one other 4 occasions since then — thrice beneath Guardiola together with final Sunday — however the quest to win the most important prize in European soccer goes on.
“Right this moment we’re unhappy,” Guardiola mentioned, “however after we analyze it was a profitable season for us.”
There was the surprising setback of shedding the playmaking ingenuity of Kevin De Bruyne over concussion fears after an hour at Estádio do Dragão.
However simply why did Guardiola once more shackle the creativity of İlkay Gündoğan when he is prime scorer for the membership this season? As an alternative the German was held again in a defensive midfield function whereas Rodri and Fernandinho began on the bench. At the least one of many positional specialists have began in each sport other than one till Saturday.
“Gundogan performed a few years on this place,” Guardiola mentioned. “To have pace with the ball, to search out the small gamers, the standard, the sensible gamers between the traces and this was the choice.”
The ultimate large choice in a season when Guardiola should settle with one other double of simply — a frustration by Metropolis’s excessive expectations that did not exist till the 2008 takeover — the Premier League and League Cup.
A primary cup remaining defeat as Metropolis supervisor leaves Guardiola with the unwelcome distinction of being on a par with one of many sport’s different managerial greats. Lengthy into retirement, Alex Ferguson nonetheless speaks of the remorse of solely profitable the Champions League twice with Manchester United.
Guardiola’s look ahead to a 3rd stretches right into a sixth season at Metropolis.
“Now I need to go residence and take a break of 1 or two weeks,” Guardiola mentioned. “After that I’ll begin to see with the membership what’s finest.”