In order to keep his team focused on Premier League and Champions League glory, Pep Guardiola has banned certain things from Manchester City players in hopes to help them focus on their play and performance. From banning pizza to wifi at the training ground to multi-colored boots for youth players, Guardiola has banned all these and is likely to ban more.
There is a saying in sports that “winning heals all wounds.” Pep Guardiola is successful with a track record of winning trophies, especially in the Champions League. And that is what Manchester City was looking for when they hired him. So because of that, players are relatively okay with not eating pizza or having wifi. But what happens when Manchester City starts to struggle? Will the players turn on him?
One notable recent example of a Premier League manager banning certain things was Paolo Di Canio at Sunderland in 2013. Di Canio banned things like ketchup, mayonnaise, soda, ice, singing on gamedays, mobile phones at the training ground and Christmas. While he felt it was necessary for various reasons, players turned on him and was sacked after six months, going 3-3-7 as Sunderland manager.
Guardiola’s restrictions haven’t been nearly as drastic as Di Canio’s but depending on his players, could be interpreted in a similar way. Guardiola has legit reasons why he is banning what he’s banning. Pizza is banned for fitness related reasons while banning wifi at the training ground will help players focus at the training ground instead of worrying about social media or anything else unrelated to soccer. And banning multi-colored boots for youth players and only giving them generic black boots keeps players focused on developing as players and avoid having massive egos.
But while this works for some teams, it isn’t the best strategy for every team. For instance, Claudio Ranieri treated his players to a pizza party where they had to make the pizza when they scored a clean sheet. They went to Denmark for a team Christmas party that resulted in everyone wearing costumes. Their star player drank wine with Red Bull the night before every game last year and Leicester City shocked the world to become Premier League champions.
I’m not going to say Pep Guardiola is right or wrong in his methods but he better have the players who understand why this is happening and will actually be okay about that. Because while Manchester City is currently leading the Premier League and are behind Barcelona in the Champions League group stage, it’s easy for everyone to be okay with what Pep Guardiola is banning. Because we won’t really know if Manchester City players are truly okay with not having pizza or wifi until Manchester City starts struggling and we find out what they truly think about their manager.