Pep Guardiola and BARCELONA


Joseph 'Pep‘ Guardiola spent 11 years as a player at FC Barcelona. He returned as manager of the 'B‘ team in 2007 and progressed to be manager of the first team in 2008. In his first season in charge Barcelona won La Ligua, the Copa del Rey and the UEFA Champions League. The team scored 105 goals in 38 league games conceding a mere 35 goals. He is currently in his first season as manager of European Cup Holders Bayern Munich.

6 Coaching Points from Guardiola

  1. 1


Guardiola epitomises the Barcelona view on style. Prior to the 2009 Champions League Final Guardiola‘s focus was on the team‘s performance: 

I don't want any regrets I want pure football We are not going to change out style, worrying about mistakes will not be our approach...Experience is not age, it is learning how to confront and resolve problems. I want players to realise they are playing in front of the whole world. I want them to feel good, be daring and play beautiful football. I want them to show that we deserve to be European champions.Sir Alex Fergusson

Bravery is not just launching into risky tackles, it is also remaining committed to a risky style. Playing pretty football and playing to win are not necessarily mutually exclusive, certainly not when you have the players that Barcelona have at their disposal. Guardiola knows that there are risks to Barcelona's style but believes the benefits are far greater.

The way his team played is concrete evidence that there is no contradiction between style and competitiveness as he built a team playing creative, technical football. At the start of the season Guardiola stressed his side would "respect our philosophy". The Barcelona style should not be viewed as creative possession football that neglects hard work and discipline. Hard work and discipline are central to the Barcelona philosophy and enable the team to regain possession quickly in order to play football.

It‘s a credit to Barcelona they pursue their attacking philosophy and don't change.Sir Alex Fergusson
  1. 2

Gabrielle Marcotti (The Times) comments on Barcelona‘s three forwards roles and positions: 

IThey are incredibly unselfish as well, disregarding their own numbers and working hard to create opportunities for each other…none are traditional centre forwards, not particularly threatening in the air nor powerful but they do have technical ability and continues intelligent movement switching positions dropping back. 
  1. 3

Gabrielle Marcotti (The Times) comments on Barcelona‘s three forwards roles and positions: 

I want players to feel good, be daring and play beautiful football.  

Barcelona have players in all positions with great technical ability. Nine of the players in the 2009 Champions League Final had come through their academy and so understand how the club plays and believe in the style. Xavi and Iniesta manage to have 90% plus pass completion in the opposition half.

  1. 4


We have great players technically and tactically, we have matured as a team over the season. Messi and Ronaldo are marvellous players but the most important thing is for the whole team to play well.  
  1. 5


Worrying about mistakes will not be our approach. We have great players technically and tactically and we have a great chance. I don't have a managerial method. I am lucky to have excellent players. That is the key to success. I just try to correct the things we don't do well, maintain the good things and eliminate mistakes.  
  1. 6
According to Johan Cruyff, The Barcelona ‗Dream Team‘ coach, Barça ideologue and the man whose philosophy Guardiola admits trying to emulate: 
pressuring high limits the amount of running players must do. When you win back the ball, he explains, there are 30 metres to goal rather than 80.  

"Pressure" was the word, a mantra. "Pressure! Pressure! Pressure!" Guardiola demanded that his team play high, asphyxiating the opposition. A possession game – Barcelona's game – requires you to win possession in the first place. This summer he will lecture at a coaching conference. Forget pass-and-move, the title of the lecture is 'Recovering Possession.

Defending high up the pitch has led to Barcelona's strikers committing more fouls than any of their defenders, Dani Alves apart.

Defending is not just about building a wall and stopping the opposition getting close to your goal; it can also be about keeping possession and stopping them getting close to the ball!