Former Manchester City defender Eliaquim Mangala was marked by his few months under Pep Guardiola.
Pep Guardiola is preparing to play a new Champions League final this Saturday with Manchester City, the first since leaving the head of Barça. Stayed six months under the orders of the Spanish technician between two loans in Valencia and Everton, Eliaquim Mangala deciphers his tactical approach before this particular meeting.
“He tries to put the player in a simulation. You keep your principles, with his philosophy, but constantly adapting yourself. He has an American football side, where the patterns are defined. Everything is thought out according to the situation”, he analyzes in L’Equipe.
“For example, if the team opposite played in 5-5-0, as he said, with, suddenly, our free defenders, he gave particular missions on how to attack space. He would have put me in attack. that I would have known what to do at the level of the diagram. The quality of the movement and the gesture would have been different but at the level of the position, everyone knows the plan from A to Z. “
A plan established precisely for each match according to the opponent and meticulously prepared for training. “Before some matches, he sometimes calls the U23s, who are briefed before the session”, continues Mangala.
“Before Liverpool, he will make them squeeze as Salah-Firmino-Mané do, that is to say curves from the outside to block the central-lateral axis and Firmino on the 6. Liverpool force you to play in the middle, it’s a trap, and City’s U23s have to replicate it.
“We prepared the game like that with the little ones doing the same movements. We had to find the solution and then he explained his explanations. He offers you an extreme understanding of the opponent.”
A preparation that also involves very specific tactical implementation: “Every week, there were specific pressing sessions which materialized by oppositions of 11 against 0. He wanted us to have all the elements to understand what to do depending on the situation, from high pressure to low block .
“We did work depending on the position of the ball and also that of the opponent, which involves a particular way of sliding and a decision-making in relation to who should go out on a particular player.”