Guardiola charged with improper conduct after Liverpool defeat

Ajustar Comentario Impresión

Of the managers still at the clubs where they started the season, José Mourinho is merely treading water at Manchester United, where many fans were thoroughly disillusioned by the club's meek exit from Europe, and Antonio Conte has been picking fights with Chelsea throughout a disappointing title defence.

It is the reason they wanted to sign Alexis Sanchez and Riyad Mahrez in January - desperate to add yet more attacking options to this ludicrously unbalanced squad.

City's owners - speeding towards a £1billion outlay on Project Pep - certainly do not expect to lose a Champions League quarter-final to Liverpool 5-1 on aggregate.

As the season draws to a close, it seems incredible that a League and cup double will be seen as something of a disappointment.

The biggest improvement effected by Valverde has been to tighten up his team defensively - not just in terms of the back four, but also the overall structure of the team to prevent the opposition from generating significant threat.

Although the inability of Lionel Messi - who sent two free-kicks well off target - to lift his team will inevitably dominate much of the post-match discussion, in truth the biggest shock was just how vulnerable Barca looked defensively throughout the game.

Liverpool were unhappy at Mateu Lahoz in what was to be the start of a controversial night for the Spaniard when Virgil van Dijk claimed he had been pushed by Raheem Sterling in the lead-up to the goal.

Defending, of course, has been a major issue with City recently, with eight goals conceded in six days.

Details of the "improper conduct" were not specified, though television pictures showed Guardiola appearing to send communications to his coaching staff from his second-half seat high in the main stand.

However bad Guardiola feels at the moment he at least has one trophy in the bag and another shortly to follow.

Pep Guardiola's relationship with the Champions League now mirrors that of Manchester City's.

"We lost against Liverpool, against United and against Liverpool".

Nobody's suggesting the 47-year-old could be on his way out of The Etihad. For the most part, too, it is experienced coaches and leaders going through the churn. Last year's champions are looking like missing out on the top four.