Football: Manchester City manager bans overweight players from training

New Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola is showing no mercy. Photo / Getty Images
New Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola is showing no mercy. Photo / Getty Images

Pep Guardiola has banned his players from eating pizza and barred anyone who is categorised as overweight from training with the squad as the new Manchester City manager wastes no time imposing his exacting methods at the Etihad Stadium.

In the first raft of changes introduced by Guardiola three weeks into his anticipated revolution at City, France defender Gaël Clichy has revealed how team-mates have already been barred from training sessions if they exceed their stipulated weight requirements as well as being told which food and drinks are off limits.

Guardiola and his staff have established weight parameters for each individual squad member and expect them to be strictly adhered to or training bans are issued, with the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich coach adamant it is necessary to reduce the risk of injury and the incidence of mistakes made in games by out-of-shape players.

Those players considered overweight have been placed on special conditioning programmes to bring them into line, with pizza, other junk food and certain fizzy drinks and juices prohibited.

"Everything has been clear - on the field, outside the field, every detail counts," said Clichy, who arrived in Shenzhen with the rest of City's squad on Tuesday for the second leg of their pre-season tour of China.

"For example, you often hear managers say being healthy is really important. With him, if you're weight is too high, you're not training with the team. So we have a few players who are not training with the team yet.

"We play football and you have to take responsibility for what you do on the field. You have to know that if your weight is 60 kilos [9st 6lb] and you are on 70 kilos [11st] then you cannot play because you're going to get injured and get your team in trouble. That's important.

"He has also cut out some juices and, of course, pizza and all the heavy food is not allowed. Some people think 'that's normal, it should be like this' but in truth it's not always like this and I know because I've been playing football for a long time. It's really refreshing and very exciting. He just wants us to trust him, he wants to trust us and I think it's the right way to start a relationship."

Clichy described the first few weeks under Guardiola as "incredible" and is already convinced the Catalan is "someone you will remember for a long time because he's truly impressive" as the left-back predicted "an amazing season for those that will be lucky to stay here".

In an early indication of the challenge facing England goalkeeper Joe Hart, under Guardiola, Clichy spoke about the manager's belief that "the goalkeeper needs to be better with their feet" and revealed the importance Guardiola places on midfielders.

"He said something like, 'If he could play 11 midfielders, he would play them', so I guess for a midfielder it's unbelievable," the defender explained.

"When you have someone like Guardiola, who has won so many trophies, then you have to adapt and quickly."

Clichy admitted players let standards drop and were distracted in the final months of last season by the news that Guardiola would be replacing Manuel Pellegrini.

He has backed Guardiola to have the sort of transcending effect on English football that Arsène Wenger had in his early years at Arsenal, when the Frenchman won three Premier League titles and as many FA Cups.

Clichy spent eight years under Wenger before joining City in 2011 and was part of the "Invincibles" team who won the title in 2003-04 without losing a game.

"I've trained only a few weeks with Guardiola and I was eight years with Wenger," he said. "There are a lot of similarities between the two but also so much difference. I think in eight or nine years, Guardiola has won pretty much everything and he's changed the way we see football.

"Wenger, years ago, brought something from where he was into English football and kind of changed the way people see football."

- Daily Telegraph UK

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