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Published on January 27th, 2014 | by Ian Cheeseman

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Holistic certainly feels like the right word to me

When Manuel Pellegrini was appointed manager of Manchester City men’s team in the summer, the word “holistic” was mentioned in dispatches. A clever word, and the perfect word to describe what seems to be happening at the club.
I went along to Boundary Park recently to watch the EDS team (Elite Development Squad) face Oldham Athletic’s reserves. It was like watching men against boys, though the boys played like men, who made Oldham’s men look like boys, if you follow my meaning.

The average age of the City team was much younger, but they played superbly well. Touch, control, movement, power and pace, just like the first team. They won 4-0 on the night, and never stopped going forward; sound familiar? I’ve seen the under 19s play a few times this season in the European Youth League, and there are some gifted players coming through. I’ve been impressed by Jack Byrne, Jason Danayer, Seko Fofana and Jordy Mayifulia, to name just a few, but more than individuals, it’s the style of play that has impressed me.

Patrick Viera, a charming man and impressive man-manager and coach, has re shaped this group into a mirror image of the first team. I’m sure Viera has a long future with the Blues.

I met the impressive Jason Kreis at Boundary Park, the coach of City’s soon-to-be sister club New York City FC, and he told me that the Pellegrini, Soriano, Begiristain way of playing, was something he’d be taking Stateside. He was over in Blighty to absorb as much as he could about the “Manchester City way to play”.

Next on my list of rendezvous with City coaches was Nick Cushing, who despite my enquiry, is not related to the star of many great “Hammer Horrors” Peter Cushing, indeed Nick’s goal, like Jason Kreis, is to coach his rebranded Manchester City Women’s football club to stylish victories built on attacking football; more beautiful game than horror story.

mcwfc

They’ll eventually play their home games in the new Stadium, at the heart of City’s new training complex. I attended the impressive relaunch of “City Ladies” as they’d been known, and Nick told me, “this club now is one club, and we share a vision, a philosophy, methodology. It’s about when the fans come to watch, the football being exciting, so that they come back again.”

I also chatted to midfielder Jill Scott, “I think even going into training, meeting all the staff, they’re all very welcoming. I think it’s really important that we don’t see women’s football as just for women and girls, I think it’s about bringing families to the game.”

Ian + Jill Scott

Sheik Mansour’s latest addition to the “family” is Melbourne Heart, soon to be re-branded Melbourne City, if all goes according to plan. And no doubt very soon their coaches will be visiting Manchester to learn about the “City way”
Who’d bet against a day at the game AND on the sofa, sometime soon, watching all four “Manchester City” teams in one day, scoring goals and entertaining – a very holistic future clearly lies ahead.

– Ian Cheeseman

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