I recently read the book, Pep Confidential – The Inside Story of Pep Guardiola’s First Season at Bayern Munich by Marti Perarnau. The book focuses on the first year at Bayern Munich. I have long admired Pep as a coach and leader and getting an inside look at what his philosophies around soccer are were greatly educational.
Pep’s first season at Bayern was covered in both success and struggle. This team managed to learn a new complex style, never being satisfied with prior successes, while winning a the double of both the league championship and DFB-Pokal. The season was a challenging one for the coach in relation to the learning curve his players had as well as the many injuries the team faced, but Pep employed great skill in adjusting both within the season and within many games. The team utilized many highly unique systems and I would claim that while there are many staples of Pep’s team, the style of play was very adjustable based on the players in form and healthy for any given game.
I thought this book highlighted the amazing coaching ability and skills Pep possess as a manager, not just a coach, as well as showing some of his weaknesses. One of the greatest lessons I learned in the book is how Pep’s success comes from his natural skills and preferences. He was less successful when he tried to be someone he is not or go with something that made him uncomfortable.
The book focused on what made Pep tick as a coach and what his soccer philosophy is. Everything he did came from these two areas and he remained true to these areas, especially when the team had success. The book also looked at what Pep did to help the team come together through several trying times. One item in relation to this that I thought was very good was the repeated aim to win the Bundesliga above all else. It seems that many outsiders may have thought this team was Champions League or bust, but Pep and his staff focused primarily on the league championship and repeated that statement over and over in the book. This helped the players and supporters understand what was at stake and what the aims were.
This was a great book that I would suggest to anyone interested in learning more about the game and one of the highest profile coaches in the sport.