Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has been keen to specifically credit two members of his backroom staff as being the architects behind a sensational set-piece routine on Wednesday night.
City cruised to victory in midweek to maintain their fine form in 2024 and dismiss of Burnley by a 3-1 scoreline and a brace from Julian Alvarez, who is going from strength to strength in the absence of Erling Haaland.
However, many of the attention was on Kevin De Bruyne with the Belgian making his first start for Manchester City since returning from injury and surgery, but looking like he has never been away over the past few weeks.
Making it four goal contributions in his four appearances since returning to full fitness, Kevin De Bruyne provided yet another assist on Wednesday night, turning provider for Julian Alvarez’s second of the contest to double City’s lead.
Speaking to the media after the contest at the Etihad Stadium, Pep Guardiola was keen to stress the importance of set-pieces in modern football, while also revealing the two names behind Manchester City’s outstanding routine that led to their second goal against Burnley.
“Today in modern football, the set-pieces are important,” Guardiola said. “We won the FA Cup (tie) against Spurs with a corner, and today we prepared with Carlos (Vicens, assistant manager) and Jack (Wilson, match analyst).”
He continued, “I’m not involved in anything about the set-pieces because I’m not good or the other ones are better, or I don’t have time I would say. We were preparing things and the corners sometimes, and every team does, it’s not just us or because we are different to the others.
“But especially we prepared this free-kick and it works. Of course, Kevin (De Bruyne) has to make the perfect pass and Julian (Alvarez) has to make the movement, the good finish from Julian, but at the end someone has to say, ‘OK we are going to do this!’ And all credit to Carlos and Jack.”
Vicens was expected to leave Manchester City at the end of the 2021/22 season to become head coach of Dutch outfit Heracles Almelo, before a staggering turn of events saw the 40-year-old u-turn on his decision and remain alongside Pep Guardiola.
It was detailed at the time that having decided against the exit from the Etihad Stadium, Vicens spoke to Pep Guardiola and sporting director Txiki Begiristain, both of whom were happy to welcome him back and continue in his role as assistant coach.
Further revelations from reports around the club have also since indicated that Carlos Vicens became a ‘trusted member’ of Manchester City’s staff in the 2021/22 season, earning the respect of the squad by relaying set-piece instructions in ‘clear and concise messages’.
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