Regardless of the match, regardless of the moment, Pep Guardiola has always been consistent with one message in football. That is his teams stay consistent to “the process”. It’s a phrase he uses so much.
The fundamental argument is of course that a team can never truly perfect a way of playing if they too often deviate from it, too often take short cuts, and that the end product of results will naturally follow if the process is properly followed.
One of the fundamental tensions to football, however, is between the wider scope of a process and the much narrow requirements of end product. The reality doesn’t always match the theory.
Sometimes, pursuing the process isn’t completely conducive to getting the result. And some results just have to be got. Following a line doesn’t always get you over the line. Sometimes, you have to compromise. But how much compromise is too much compromise?
Few fixtures will better distil this tension than Chelsea’s visit to Manchester Cityon Sunday. Few players better illustrate this than the one who will be at the centre of the pitch on Sunday, and was at the centre of a transfer tug-of-war between both clubs in the summer, in Jorginho.