Italy Ace Chiellini Slams Pep Guardiola’s Influence for ‘Ruining’ Next Generation of Defenders

​Pep Guardiola’s desire for his defenders to play pretty passes instead of making tackles, interceptions and winning headers has “ruined” a generation of defensive stars.

That is according to Juventus ace Giorgio Chiellini, who has hit out at the Manchester City boss for his philosophy in an interview with the Italian edition of ​Fox Sports.

Guardiola has made it his mantra to make every player, in any senior squad he has managed, comfortable on the ball thanks to his philosophy of playing possession-based, attacking football.

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Chiellini, however, doesn’t agree that the Spaniard’s methods are necessary and, having learned his trade about the art of defending properly in his homeland – the catenaccio – thinks defending will soon become a lost art for some.

He said: “They have to grow internationally, but they will do very well.

“I think Guardiola has ruined a generation of defenders. They think so much about setting up, widening, but they know little about man marking.

“The Italian defensive tradition is one of the great feats. For Italy to return to the top of world, they need strong strikers, yes, but also true defenders.”

Chiellini is currently on international duty with Italy as I Azzurri bid to qualify for next summer’s World Cup in Russia by seeing off Sweden in a two-legged play off tie.

The veteran centre-back admits that Sweden will pose a serious threat to his nation’s chances of heading out to Russia next June and, whilst he stated that it would have been great to duke it out with one retired Swedish legend in the crunch contests, he is glad not to be doing so with so much riding on the two matches.

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He added: “Compared to a year ago I expect a more technical Sweden, though I still think they are very physical. They have eliminated Holland and placed under France.

“I would have liked to have played against Zlatan Ibrahimovic, but not this time. It is too important a game, and there is a World Cup [place to play for].”

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