Cesc Fabregas has been speaking about the differences between Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola and new Tottenham boss Antonio Conte.
The Spaniard worked under Guardiola at Barcelona for a year, whilst he played for Conte at Chelsea for two seasons. Out of the two, Fabregas said that Guardiola gave him more freedom to express himself, whilst Conte had a very rigid way of playing football:
“I think with Antonio [Conte], it was the first time that I’ve seen someone know exactly [what they want]. It was like going to school. I promise you, he will tell you, from the goalkeeper until you have scored a goal, what you have to do, exactly everything. Maybe it’s in a different way to how I saw football. At the beginning, it was difficult for me, don’t get me wrong. A lot of running, a lot of intensity. Big sessions, double sessions, gym sessions.”
“I had coaches like Pep [Guardiola] who had a lot of positioning games, but we had freedom inside of this. With Conte, the freedom was non-existent. He was telling me where I had to pass the ball. I’m 29 years old at that moment, I’ve already played for 13 years, I played in every final, I won a lot of things, and this guy is telling me where I need to pass the ball.”
Fabregas was certainly not criticising either way of doing things, simply contrasting the two managers’ approaches to setting up their teams. It is a very interesting insight into how both Guardiola and Conte operate.
While Guardiola is undoubtedly a demanding taskmaster, expecting the very best from his players, he generally affords them some autonomy on the pitch. From what Fabregas says, though, that is not how Conte works. The Italian demands every player to follow his strict instructions to the letter in order to achieve results.
City next face Tottenham in February so we shall see if Conte has got his Spurs side into shape by then.