Lahm: Pep Guardiola's 'cautious' style with Man City is paying off

Pep Guardiola would ‘play 11 Iniestas if he could’ but his evolution to a ‘cautious’ style with Manchester City is paying off, claims his former Bayern Munich captain Philipp Lahm 

  • Pep Guardiola has now guided Manchester City to the Champions League final 
  • The Spaniard has not won that trophy since he was at Barcelona a decade ago
  • Philipp Lahm believes Guardiola has become more cautious since his Spain days
  • The German believes the City boss started transitioning at Bayern Munich 
  • Guardiola once described Lahm as the ‘most intelligent player he ever trained’ 

Philipp Lahm claims Pep Guardiola has become more ‘cautious’ as a manager since leaving Barcelona as the Spaniard stands on the brink of history with Manchester City.

The Spanish manager, known for his tika-taka style of coaching, made a name for himself at Barcelona and won the treble with the Catalans in 2009 before winning the 2011 Champions League final.

Guardiola has now reached his first final in a decade at Manchester City and former Bayern Munich captain Lahm, who the Spaniard once described as the ‘most intelligent player he ever trained’, believes the City coach is now more defensive. 

Philipp Lahm (left) claims Pep Guardiola (right) has become a more cautious coach now

Guardiola has now guided Manchester City to their first-ever Champions League final

Lahm told Spanish news outlet El Pais: ‘City now play a more cautious style, relying on athletic defenders who impose themselves in the air.

‘The team sometimes give the ball away, drop back, defend their area, take a breather and wait to counter-attack. 

‘The coach has learned to enjoy simple goals from a corner or a shot from outside the box: he has seen that those goals have their appeal too. He’s not just a fan of the ultra-attacking tiki-taka.’

Lahm believes Guardiola (left) is reliant on more agile defenders rather than a ‘tiki-taka’ style

Lahm and Guardiola spent three years together at Bayern Munich and won seven trophies

Lahm and Guardiola spent three seasons together in a Bayern Munich side that won seven trophies between 2013 and 2016 – including three Bundesliga titles and the FIFA Club World Cup. 

The pair enjoyed a positive relationship at the German giants, with Guardiola giving the defender the biggest praise possible back in 2013.

The Spanish coach said: ‘Philipp Lahm is perhaps the most intelligent player I have ever trained in my career. He is at another level.’

The German defender, who played over 500 times for Bayern Munich in a 15-year spell in Bavaria, claims Guardiola started his transition from the ‘tika-taka’ days at the German giants.  

Guardiola made a name for himself at Barcelona where he won two Champions League titles

Lahm added: ‘After the high point he reached in Spain, you can see that Guardiola is adapting. Barcelona were a very good team, with almost everyone playing several instruments well. 

‘When they won the Champions League in 2009 and 2011, they suffocated their opponents. That style was possible because the whole club follows Johan Cruyff’s idea of total football. Guardiola sees himself in this tradition: if they let him, he would play 11 Iniestas.

‘Elsewhere he had to sacrifice a little of his idealism. In Munich (at Bayern) he let the specialists (Franck) Ribery and (Arjen) Robben play on the flanks, and the two full-backs drifted into the centre when the team had possession of the ball.’

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