Manchester: Pep Guardiola begins life without Kevin De Bruyne against Huddersfield this weekend, but the build up to the match was dominated by reviews of his on-screen performance.
Guardiola has found himself at the centre of intense media scrutiny this week, following the release of Amazon’s fly-on-the-wall documentary series that covers City’s Premier League-winning season.
The unprecedented access granted to the film’s producers created sensational headlines, even before it was officially launched for public viewing, Friday.
And, although Guardiola conceded the series may reveal some of his managerial techniques, he is relaxed about that possibility.
“We had cameras following us 24 hours a day so that can happen,” said Guardiola. “People will see how a team are behind the scenes. On the secrets, every game is completely different to the others, and the players make the tactics. You have Kevin De Bruyne playing one way, and if he is not available, you have to adapt to the players who are playing in his place.
“So then we have to change our tactics. Tactics are about football players, not ideas from the manager,” added the mercurial coach.
De Bruyne will be out for around three months after injuring knee ligaments in training, Thursday, although he will not require surgery.
City have any number of potential replacements. David Silva, who missed spells of last season to be with his prematurely-born son, will feature more often at the heart of Guardiola’s attacking plans.
Promising youngster Phil Foden, still only 18 but reportedly under consideration for a call-up to the full England squad by Gareth Southgate, may also play more often during the Belgian’s absence.
But it is the fall-out from the documentary that appears set to dominate conversations about Guardiola and City for the opening few days of the season.
“I want to tell you something. It’s good for the club, a good initiative for the club, we did our job and tried to win the games,” Guardiola pointed out.
On the field, City have started the new campaign impressively, beating Chelsea in emphatic style in the Community Shield and then winning 2-0 in their opening league match at Arsenal last week.
Huddersfield visit the Etihad, having collected a valuable goalless draw there late last season which helped David Wagner toward Premier League survival.
“Last season was tough against Huddersfield,” said Guardiola. “All the teams after the World Cup, you need one month or six weeks and these kind of games are so dangerous.
“The first game, Arsenal, was on a big stage but games like this – Wolves, Cardiff, Fulham. I prefer these games in November. History says you always drop points at this time,” he added.