The path to consistent success rarely runs smooth and that’s as true in football as any other sport or business, with Man City there to be shot at as the reigning Premier League and European champions.
Pep Guardiola’s side have become the de facto ‘best team in the world’ by virtue not only of their title wins, but the way in which they are being achieved.
In many respects the success mirrors that which Guardiola managed at Bayern Munich and initially at Barcelona.
One aspect that does set the manager apart from his contemporaries, other than the way he likes his teams to play, is his ruthlessness.
Just ask the likes of Gabriel Jesus, Raheem Sterling and Joao Cancelo et al.
If a player isn’t doing the business on the pitch or isn’t toeing the line then there are arguably no second chances with the Catalan. His only focus is on winning.
One player that has excelled under his tutelage is midfield marvel, Kevin De Bruyne.
So often the fulcrum of everything good that City do, Pep has had to do without his talisman this season and likely won’t be able to call upon his services until the new year.
According to the Daily Star, contract discussions with the player have been put on hold until his injury concerns are assessed, and that could spell trouble for the Belgian – even though Guardiola had promised a two-year deal to the player.
Whilst there’s no doubting his quality, if he’s going to start picking up niggles here and there, then he’s of little used to Guardiola.
Importantly, the team have shown that they can cope with De Bruyne’s absence which would’ve been unthinkable a few short months ago.