The Manchester City and Everton managers confirm that mastering English football and the emphasis on second balls is making life more difficult than they imagined it to be
English football. Is it any good or not? Do we have the game we desire, a contest with extra dimensions such as aggression and bravery, or is our version just a primitive ancestor of what everyone else is playing, a throwback revelling in the physical aspects of confrontation that more cerebral exponents bypassed years ago?
In some form or other the question has been debated for decades. The reason for asking it now is that on Tuesday 13 December 2016 both Pep Guardiola and Ronald Koeman made the same point about English football. They said it is more difficult because it is more unpredictable. The ball is in the air a lot more, and when the ball is in the air the outcome of any given challenge is more uncertain, because a player has to win a physical fight.
Related: Pep Guardiola: ‘I would not be here without Johan Cruyff. He was unique’
Related: Ronald Koeman: Pep Guardiola was my protege; now he is the best manager
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