Pep Guardiola has managed to achieve an enormous amount of success in a relatively short amount of time. He entered the public eye by helping Barcelona win an unprecedented amount of trophies. He would then go on a break before returning to revitalise Bayern Munich, putting together a foundation for success. He then went on to coach Manchester City, who gave him an almost unlimited amount of money to turn the team into one that can stand toe to toe with the best in Europe.


Let’s look at how Guardiola became so successful, and what lessons there are to be learned from his achievements.



Pep must be credited with creating and popularising the false 9 role he gave to Lionel Messi. Of course it certainly helps to have one of the best in the world on your team, but Pep was able to maximise the impact Messi had on the field by having him play false 9.


The Lesson

Something being done a certain way is no reason to suggest it should always be done this way, and that there’s no need to find a different way to do it, especially if you can create a better or more efficient way of doing it. You must analyse the situation and apply forward thinking.



Pep prepares for games meticulously by watching tape after tape of his opponents to gain an understanding of them, and use this knowledge to come up with a solid plan for defeating them.


The Lesson

Do you keep a close on your competition and the barriers to entering the market? Or do you try to create something that would be so good it can succeed no matter what stands between it and success? You should always be aware of the things that might stop you and plan ahead.


The Team

Everyone knows that no one person is larger than the team, and Pep isn’t afraid to highlight this. He’s taken popular players out of his teams, including Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Samuel Eto’o. He even dropped Joe Hart from Manchester City as he felt that he didn’t have the ability and form to play on his team.


The Lesson

You need to work towards your goal and be true to it, and this could sometimes involve making harsh decisions to improve what you’re doing. This process should never be taken lightly and it can be difficult, but it’s still something to consider.


Strive for Excellence

All you have to do to find out how much Pep Guardiola analyses his games is to start reading his books. He’s never satisfied and breaks down games meticulously through conversations. Even if his team won by a wide margin it wouldn’t be right if the game wasn’t won how he wanted it to be won. He would still see room for improvements that should be made. Even if he wins, he won’t settle. He strives for improvement and focuses on the process.


The Lesson

Everyone has done this at some point or another – whether it’s when coaching a game, taking a test, or performing a business transaction. You might have reached the desired result, but you didn’t work to the best of your ability. The next time you are successful at something, analyse the process and the result, to see how you can do better in the future.



Pep will always commit to the process and play a long game. During his time at Bayern Munich and Manchester City he went through a lot more losses than he would with Barcelona; but Pep believed in his play style and his tactical plans. There’s the inevitable mistake but these are part and parcel of the process. Pep continues to work on the plan and build on it to perfect it.


A perfect example of this is John Stones He was praised a lot for his skill and ability to play at the back, but he also faces fierce criticism over the mistakes he makes. Pep believes in Stones and understands he needs to make some mistakes to develop. I think so too, and believe we could be seeing the development of another Gerard Piqué.


The Lesson

If you’ve got a game plan and want to impose your play style on a team, it’s important to understand it can take time. Have the confidence that it’ll happen and share your vision with everyone involved to get them to support you and buy-in to the plan.


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