No footie for the fatties
Pep Guardiola has banished some of his Manchester City players from training sessions because they are overweight.
It was reported early in Guardiola’s reign that he had kept Yaya Toure and Samir Nasri away from the rest of the squad in a bid to get them in shape for the new season.
And though he did not confirm any names, left-back Gael Clichy has revealed that the players in question had still not taken part in the main training sessions up until their arrival in China. Media at the International Champions Cup are granted access to pre-match sessions, but Clichy says things have been different behind the scenes as Guardiola looks to make his mark at City.
“On the field, outside the field, every detail counts,” the defender told reporters. “For example, you often hear managers say being healthy is really important. With him, if your weight is too high, you’re not training with the team.
“That is the first thing and you hear it a lot but for my part it’s the first time any manager has really done it. So we have a few players who are not training with the team yet. It’s funny, but we play football and it’s a job and you have to take responsibility for what you do on the field.
“Of course you have quality but you have to know that if your weight is 60 kilos and you are on 70 kilos then you cannot play football because you’re going to get injured and get your team in trouble.”
Guardiola has also shaken up the meal plans of his new players, with pizza – which was commonly eaten after matches in recent years – and other items now off limits.
“He cut out some juice and of course pizza and all the heavy food is not allowed,” Clichy added. “It’s a normal thing but some people think, ‘That’s normal, it should be like this’ but in truth it’s not always like this and I know because I’ve been playing football for a long time. It’s really refreshing and very exciting.”
A number of players who were involved in international tournaments this summer only rejoined the squad for City’s tour of China, but Clichy says they are in for a shock when they get back to England.
“I don’t think they will really understand the way it is because we’re here and the weather is really humid and hot so you can’t really train the way we trained for the last two weeks,” he added.
“But I’m pretty sure that when we get back to Manchester they will have understood already what it is about. We work hard, we work hard with the ball also — it’s a different way and it’s quite nice.”
Clichy has liked what he has seen from Guardiola, who he hails as “truly impressive”, and is confident even after less than a month with the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss that good times are ahead.
“You don’t have success without being focused on details. He’s been a player also which makes a big difference. He’s young so I think he understands how football is going with the new generation coming though. He told us, ‘We are going to be friends for all the pre-season and I know that when I have the starting XI for Sunderland some players are going to be upset and from that moment then I don’t know what to expect’.
“It’s normal that if you don’t play you’re not happy but he’s just telling you and he knows what’s going to happen. So he just wants us to trust him, he wants to trust us and I think it’s the right way to start a relationship. That’s not the reason we’re going to win things. The reason we’re going to win things, if we do, is by working hard and he’s making sure we are working hard. It’s only a few weeks into pre-season but I’m pretty sure it’s going to be a good year.
“Any manager who comes into a new club brings an energy. Instead of giving 100 percent you give 110 percent just because it’s a new manager and you need to show yourself. But of course he’s bringing something different, he’s bringing something he’s been doing with Barcelona and Munich. It’s been really exciting for the last three weeks and I can see that we’re going to improve as a team and so many players are going to improve individually and hopefully it will bring success to the club because in the end that’s what he’s here for.”