How Man City boss Pep Guardiola left Eddie Jones feeling ’embarrassed’ about his coaching skills

18 Nov

Eddie Jones has spoken of the ’embarrassment’ he felt after witnessing Pep Guardiola lead a training session.

Jones, who guided England to the Rugby World Cup final earlier this month, thought he knew a thing or two about coaching – until he watched Guardiola in action.

Eddie Jones studied Pep Guardiola at Bayern
Getty

In an extract from his new autobiography, My Life and Rugby, the Australian revealed how a visit to Germany to meet then Bayern Munich boss Guardiola left him stunned and inspired.

“Pep was incredibly generous and gave me a lot of time,” wrote Jones in his book, which is being serialised in The Times. “He also allowed me to watch his training sessions with Bayern Munich.

It was intriguing because he was coaching some of the best players in the world, and talking to them in various languages, while working with striking intensity.

“After a routine warm-up he split them into three groups and had them working on concepts of space with relentless focus. One particular session only lasted for 30 minutes but, as they came off for a break, the players were mentally and physically drained. Despite the freezing temperatures, sweat ran down their gaunt faces.

“Pep’s razor-sharp instruction and expectation pushed the players to their limits. But with purpose, intensity and clarity, they had achieved more in half an hour than most teams would in a traditional two-hour training stint.

“I had also started to structure our training in short concentrated bursts.

“But, rather than feeling proud that Pep and I had the same views, I squirmed at how amateurish my sessions seemed when compared to Guardiola’s sophisticated and intricate coaching patterns.

“I liked the way he could move from coaching the team, talking to everyone in ways that opened their minds, to individualistic moments when he would take a player to one side and show him exactly what he meant. He sometimes even used his hands to move a player physically so there could be no misunderstanding about what they needed to do. It was impassioned and it was inspirational.

Guardiola is known for his intensity and attention to detail
Getty Images – Getty

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“At the end of a long day, which finished at 7pm, Pep gave me two hours in his office. He talked about space, movement, passing, training and winning.

“I left Munich feeling almost dazed.

“It was exhilarating to watch, listen to and speak with one of the masters of our profession but, at the same time, it was embarrassing to know how far ahead of me he was.

“Prior to visiting Bayern Munich, I thought I knew something about professional coaching.”

Guardiola said he watched the Rugby World Cup final – which England lost to South Africa – and that he hoped to invite Jones to the Etihad in the future.

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