The Fiver | For Pep Guardiola it’s the least wonderful time of the year

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A luxury flat in Spinningfields, Manchester, the very small hours. The black polo neck is slung on the back of an ergonomically designed chair but Pep Guardiola is still pacing the room. Not even the soothing sounds of Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds or that CD of whale music Marcelo Bielsa sent over after clearing out his Pudsey pied-à-terre are doing the job. The celebratory cigars remain in the humidor. Pep will sleep eventually, though fitfully, for a few minutes at a time. At the Etihad Academy on Wednesday morning he will need some of the rocket-fuel coffee Johan Cruyff used to swear by to get through the day, the warmdowns, the debriefs, the chalkboards, the ice baths, the stats. Not even Brandon the kitman’s chirpy [email protected] and jock-strap party tricks can lift the spirits.

Continue reading…Sign up now! Sign up now! Sign up now? Sign up now!A luxury flat in Spinningfields, Manchester, the very small hours. The black polo neck is slung on the back of an ergonomically designed chair but Pep Guardiola is still pacing the room. Not even the soothing sounds of Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds or that CD of whale music Marcelo Bielsa sent over after clearing out his Pudsey pied-à-terre are doing the job. The celebratory cigars remain in the humidor. Pep will sleep eventually, though fitfully, for a few minutes at a time. At the Etihad Academy on Wednesday morning he will need some of the rocket-fuel coffee Johan Cruyff used to swear by to get through the day, the warmdowns, the debriefs, the chalkboards, the ice baths, the stats. Not even Brandon the kitman’s chirpy [email protected] and jock-strap party tricks can lift the spirits. Continue reading…Football | The Guardian