Pep Guardiola - Team Culture Story

Players deny it but it’s a fact!

Ever come across footballers sat on a sideline hoping their very own teammates perform poorly or that their very own team lose the game simply because they are not involved?. It’s an unspoken truth about football, but one that many will have witnessed, the individualised footballers are everywhere in the game. Perhaps the way kids are coached to compete at training with one another fighting for places from early ages has much to do with the building of that individualised mentality or perhaps it’s simply a matter of the type of person the people in question are. Whatever the cause for individualism there can be no question that the most successful teams across all levels of the game down through the years have been those with a strong team ethic and bond. Recently was sent a story from Pep Gaurdiola’s very first game in charge of FC Barcelona that was fascinating to read.

Pep Guardiola Story Part 1

Pep Gaurdiola took charge of FC Barcelona in season 2008-2009 following a successful period as manager of FC Barcelona B team. In four of the six pre season fixtures in the summer of 2008 Guardiola saw his Barcelona side score five or more goals following victories in all six games versus Hibernian, Dundee United, Fiorentina, Guadalajara, New York Red Bulls and Boca Juniors respectively. Guardiola had laid down his marker from day one with a historic speech to the players that highlighted the requirement for work rate and team ethic no matter what.

Pep Guardiola Story Part 2

Speaking about team culture in 2009 Pep Gaurdiola hinted at a key approach he uses to build his squads. Guardiola said “The cause has to be greater than the individual, watch for attachment, you’ll see who cares, if you only listen then everyone cares”. That quote fit’s perfectly with what Guardiola did when building one of the greatest sides FC Barcelona has ever seen. Following a successful pre season Pep Gaurdiola’s first league game in charge of FC Barcelona was an away day at Numancia. Barcelona lost the game and missed key opportunities during it. The actions of Guardiola in that game was interesting. Guardiola carefully observed the reactions of players to missed opportunities, he was searching for attachment from the sideline, who cared, who didn’t?. The story is told in the video below from the Barcelona way.

Pep Gaurdiola Story Part 3

FC Barcelona went on to win the treble that season and grew from strength to strength over the years with Guardiola at the helm. In subsequent jobs at FC Bayern Munich and Manchester City Gaurdiola also quickly built a squad of team players with the same demands for work and team ethic. More success has followed and no doubt will continue to follow. In a team game, finding team players is key!

The Take Away Message

The message to take away from this piece is clear. In football you’ll come across players who promise the world and talk much. In the end if you really want to find out about a player watch his actions, words can deceive but actions never lie.