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Will Barça Coach Josep Guardiola Live Up to Expectations Next Season?

SEATTLE - AUGUST 5:  Manager Josep Guardiola of FC Barcelona looks on from the bench prior to their International Club Friendly against Seattle Sounders FC on August 5, 2009 at Qwest Field in Seattle, Washington. FC Barcelona defeated Seattle Sounders FC 4-0. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Khalid KhanCorrespondent IAugust 21, 2009

Rookie coach Josep Guardiola led Barcelona to an unprecedented domestic and European success last season. This has generated a lot of hype amongst Barça followers as they expect the team to not only retain all the titles next season but also add to them with Supercopa de España, UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup to claim an unprecedented six trophies haul.

It will be very interesting to see if Guardiola can continue from his immediate success in the debut season and build upon it.

When appointed, the expectation level was not high because of his relative inexperience and youth and it was understood that he will need time to settle into his coaching job for such a big club. Therefore media scrutiny of his tactics and decision wasn’t much critical.

But now as a new season begins, all eyes will be on Guardiola, his team selection, tactics and overall strategy will be microanlayzed. It was said about Frank Rijkaard that he won La Liga and Champions League because of the immense talent available in the team.

Can the same be said about Guardiola? There are other questions as well. Was it his ability in handling players that did the trick? Was it his strategy that won the day? Was it that a change was needed in the locker room? Or it was replacement of the laid-back style of Rijkaard with Guardiola’s tough attitude and emphasis on work ethic?

In Eto’o case Guardiola did show psychological vulnerability in his refusal to accept substance when he said "There is not a single major reason for this decision. It is a matter of feeling and sensations. I think it would be the best for Barcelona if Eto'o does leave, and his sale is my decision.”

And more that "Inter have the money to make Eto'o happy, but if he wants to stay, then I will have no problem with that. I fully understand that people ask why. He is a wonderful player. Everyone knows there are no "football" reasons.

So why? It is a question of feeling." He had the power and right as a coach to do what he please, but just couldn’t rise above his personal conceptions and perceptions.

Something also went on between Yaya Touré and the coach at the beginning of last season when former was unhappy at being left out of the team. Before he signed contract extension and increase in wages he was rumored to be on the way to Arsenal, to join his brother Kolo Touré there, among other top destinations across Europe.

The preseason has gone well so far and team has shown no let up in form. The coach and the team understand that wins are now in the past, they have to learn from experience and start all over again. The challenge is to prevent complacency.

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