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Sat Oct 01 09:02:03 CAT 2016

Guardiola gives Man City a pep pill

AFP | 23 September, 2016 07:56
Guardiola's actions may have surprised those used to thinking of him as the "good guy" in his rivalry with Jose Mourinho, but it is fully in keeping with his career to date. File photo

With dead-eyed efficiency, Pep Guardiola has hit the ground running as Manchester City manager, ruthlessly clearing his squad of unwanted players and transforming the team into a winning machine.

Joe Hart and Yaya Toure are among those cast aside as the uncompromising Guardiola has instilled his philosophy of quick, passing football at the Etihad Stadium.

His methods have yielded immediate results, with City, who finished fourth last season, winning their first nine games of his tenure and surging to the top of the Premier League.

"You can see when they play he's stamped his authority on that team," says Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe.

"They've started the season incredibly well." Hart has been Guardiola's most high-profile victim, the England goalkeeper joining Torino on loan.

Hart was one of four high-profile outcasts to be loaned out on transfer deadline day, along with Eliaquim Mangala, Samir Nasri and Wilfried Bony.

Toure remains, but the driving force behind City's 2012 and 2014 title wins looks unlikely to play first-team football anytime soon.

Guardiola's actions may have surprised those used to thinking of him as the "good guy" in his rivalry with Jose Mourinho, but it is fully in keeping with his career to date.

Deco, Ronaldinho and Samuel Eto'o were all told they were not part of Guardiola's plans when he became Barcelona manager in 2008.

While Guardiola has been at pains to downplay the extent of his impact, his team already look ominously powerful.

Writing in The Sun after City's recent slick 2-1 win over Mourinho's Manchester United, former England striker Alan Shearer said: "The City players were 50% sharper than United in every phase of play.

"That is after a couple of months of Guardiola's guidance.

"Imagine how good they will be in six months."

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