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SIDELINES

TV WATCH THIS MONTH’S SCREEN REVIEW

The makers of Pep Guardiola: Chasing Perfection (BBC1, January 24) couldn’t have known their documentary would be shown in the week of Jürgen Klopp’s announcement, but it was outdated on transmission already.

Glowingly citing “Vincent Kompany’s Burnley” among the clubs Guardiola has influenced is just unlucky. Less so that the programme couldn’t be updated to reflect on a season when City are currently chasing second, playing like they’re rattled by those 115 charges. In fairness, Chasing Perfection does mention his flaws, chiefly a tendency to overthink, highlighted by dropping Rodri for the 2021 Champions League final and asking his Bayern team how they should play against Real Madrid ahead of the 4-0 semifinal defeat in 2014, because he could no longer decide.

As a biography, it was a breezily efficient hour. Generally curt and dismissive in broadcast interviews, Guardiola has never offered a pithy Fergie-style “Football, bloody hell” quote to humanise him, so the childhood and family footage was welcome.

Understandably, a programme whose premise is showcasing Guardiola’s greatness is likely to overlook some questions. Insight into his relative failure at Bayern Munich was lacking, with Robert Lewandowski given less screen time than

Noel Gallagher. Repeatedly emphasising Guardiola has revolutionised how football is played, there was no questioning of whether his philosophy is always a good idea if you don’t have limitless resources. It’s laudable to play out from the back if you’re Ederson, but everyone knows who’ll get the blame if a National League keeper is dispossessed.

Without wishing to sound like a Charles Hughes coaching manual, is it even wise to insist goalkeepers need to function as an additional centre-half ? The ability to keep the ball out of the net

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is surely the overriding priority. Some footballers belong on pitch, some in nets. You’re messing with nature, Pep. No good can come of it.

That issue of resources is the real concern over Guardiola’s greatness. Henry Winter pointed out a Champions League win is the least City could expect from their billions. Chasing Perfection adeptly detailed Guardiola’s ability to change tactics in games, his relentless focus and the percentage game behind his philosophy. But he’s been blessed with incredible funds and (at least financially) benevolent boards at all three clubs he’s managed. If the idea of Guardiola trying to get promotion with Gillingham is facile, then it’ll be fascinating to see if he sticks around once the FFP panel eventually delivers a verdict. Gallagher claimed Guardiola has built an empire at Manchester City. How long it lasts might not be down to its manager, however close to perfection he came with last season’s treble.

Chasing Perfection needed at least another episode to give a full overview of Guardiola’s management. FIFA’s new official documentary of the 2022 World Cup, Captains of the World, could easily have lost one of its six 45-minute episodes. Naturally, it’s on Netflix, home of more luxurious padding than a Premier League bench.

It’s surprising FIFA still bother with official World Cup films. Made by Fulwell 73, the generally excellent documentary team behind Sunderland Til I Die and Bros: When The Screaming Stops, Captains of the World is certainly a contrast to FIFA’s woozy 1966 film Goal!, scripted by Brian Glanville. Unsuspecting Gen X children who watched Goal! during its frequent school holiday showings were likely to develop an interest in freeform jazz and David Lynch. Youngsters viewing the glossily businesslike Captains of the World might grow up to be on the board of a Forbes 500 company and write books with titles like Feasting On Plankton: Become A CEO By Finding Your Inner Shark.

NUMBERS GAME The figures behind the facts

0-4

£709m

1978

The score in Côte d’Ivoire’s match with Equatorial Guinea, the worst ever defeat for a host team in the Africa Cup of Nations Real Madrid’s revenues during the 2022-23 season, putting them top of the Deloitte Football Money League

The last time a club from outside the top five tiers reached the FA Cup fifth round, until Maidstone this year

A L A M Y

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6 WSC

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