On The Ball

Retooled City even more awesome than before

Manchester City teammates celebrate after winning the English Premier League,  in Manchester, Britain, on May 22, 2022. PHOTO: REUTERS
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Rebuilding a team while delivering success is a discipline that Pep Guardiola has already proved himself adept at. Four English Premier League titles for Manchester City in the last five seasons attest to that, with the club's golden generation of Yaya Toure, Vincent Kompany, David Silva and Sergio Aguero each phased out while trophies continued to roll in.

That was a process carried out gradually. Younger players like Ruben Dias, Ilkay Gundogan, Phil Foden and Bernardo Silva were drafted in to fill the gaps. Dias aside, Guardiola's usual solution to problems has been to field more midfielders, as a coach who picked nine of them in a Barcelona game against Villarreal in the 2011-12 season and plumped for a rotating false No. 9 as the initial solution to replacing Aguero.

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