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How Postecoglou out-possessed Guardiola and his advice for beating Manchester City

00:03 BST 16/09/2019
The Aussie coach did what few can when his Japanese club edged City for possession in pre-season

While Yokohama F.Marinos may have lost 3-1 to Manchester City in pre-season, there was one stat that would have surely brought a smile to Ange Postecoglou's face. 

The former Socceroos coach, now into his second season in the J-League, saw his side boast 58 per cent of possession when they came up against Guardiola's team in late July. 

For two coaches that pride themselves on dominating the ball, it was a small but important victory for Postecoglou, who believes Yokohama managed to highlight a way City can be challenged. 

“People will say it was a friendly game, in pre-season, they didn’t take it too seriously but I would hazard to guess how many times a team coached by Pep has been out-possessed,” Postecoglou told Optus Sport.

“I hear people say possession doesn’t mean anything. I think it does, particularly when it is possession in meaningful areas, not just at the back, and creating problems.

“But it takes a bit of courage and conviction to take on a team like City or coached by someone like Pep – because there is the fear that if it goes really badly you can be very exposed. That sort of fear and trepidation, it stops many teams from challenging them and you almost play into their hands – they start most games of football knowing they’ll have the ascendancy.

“Then, they have the quality, for the most part, that will make the most of that, unless it is an aberration or a one-off game where a team does manage to pull off a result sitting back. For the most part, they have an advantage before the game even starts.

"I certainly believe there is an avenue to at least challenge not just City, but teams that want to dominate; to take the game to them." 

Incidentally, Norwich did manage to stun Guardiola's side over the weekend, despite the fact City boasted 69% of possession. 

In Japan meanwhile, Yokohama once again claimed 58% of possession in a 3-0 win over Sanfrecce as Postecoglou claimed a third straight victory which sees his side sitting third in the J-League. 

After finishing 12th last season, Postecoglou's team is showing they've adapted to his style with the club now just four points shy of league leaders FC Tokyo.