In football, at least on the field, it is all about winning. And it is all lawful in order to pull it off as far as it is within the regulation. Everything. Tactical, mind, physical, preparation, talent, fans, champagne football, conservative football, prehistoric and modern. Everything. The lexicon too.
We have finished an intense week where the Champions League quarter finals have been decided and, above them all, the already classic duel between two coaches that many identify as ‘the good and the bad of football’, that is to say: Guardiola and Simeone, or maybe Simeone and Guardiola instead, as sometimes the good and bad can be distorted. Do not forget that “the fish dies by its mouth”. Even though it is all about winning.
The victory of Guardiola on Simeone, of Manchester City versus Atlético de Madrid, has brought endless debates and dialectical battles that were all almost scripted since the draw took place. Because it was too clear and it was also difficult to think of two better representatives of what is winning with such antagonistic styles.
It was not difficult at all to predict that Atlético would defend with everything they had at the Etihad to stay alive for the second leg at the Metropolitano. And a scandal came up because they played on a 5-5-0 as if that was forbidden.
It was not much complicated to think that, after the 1-0 score in the first leg, Atlético would wait to the last quarter of the knockout to go to the attack so they would minimize risks with the clock if they drew the aggregate score that they were finally unable to. What it really surprised many was that they evened with football that supposed exemplary goodness.
Meanwhile, between the two games, Guardiola used a term that might look as inoffensive as measured coming from someone with such much lexicon, that thing of the ‘Prehistory’ with open interpretation to the contempt but with no evidence of it. What it is clearly evident is that in the second leg, after a dull first half, the roles switched and suddenly the good was the bad and the bad was the good.
Because Atlético locked up City on their half and forced Guardiola’s team to appeal to that other dirty football of wasting time, kicking the ball out and making defensive substitutions. It was all about securing their goal and he admitted himself that they did not have any other option. And I think that what they did was very logic, because not doing it would have been nonsense for their interests, guess what, based on winning.
After two games of tactical and dialectical battles where the script was most of the time more on Atlético’s side than City’s, Guardiola was the winner, but he got stained with the mud he has criticized so much without any allusion to prehistorical terms that would question his (im)perfect football. In the end it is all about winning and it is all lawful for it.
Main image: Twitter @ManCityES.