Pep Guardiola wants the Community Shield to be taken more seriously by the English soccer community. If it’s not important, he argues, he simply won’t participate.
There is talk of Manchester City winning the quadruple, with the club having already won the League Cup and still around in each of the other competitions. The Citizens sit second in the Premier League table with a two-point deficit behind Liverpool and a game in hand, and they’ve reached the FA Cup final along with the Champions League quarterfinals. With all the talk of a clean sweep, Guardiola still wants more credit: he wants talk of a quintuple.
With the English media seemingly failing to recognize the Community Shield as a trophy won by Manchester City this season, Guardiola has taken the fight public. “The people say we won one title, so the Community Shield?” Guardiola asks. “Maybe it counts for last season, but last season when we went on holidays, it was not in our pocket.”
“Of course in Spain, in Germany, where I have been, the Super Cup [the Community Shield equivalent] is an important trophy. Always we had the feeling we won two titles this season so far, we have three to play. So that is what we believe. But the people say all the time ‘just one title, one title.”
That’s when Guardiola made his firm stance. “If we are able to beat Liverpool and win the Premier League [this year], next season we are not going to play the Community Shield. Because why? It doesn’t count! It will be longer holidays in summer time, and we will fresh for the Premier League and Champions League.”
This battle is one that Jose Mourinho made famous, pushing multiple times for the Community Shield to be counted among Manchester United’s trophy haul in 2016 alongside the League Cup and Europa League titles.
It’s highly unlikely that Guardiola would actually boycott the match he deems to be an important moment in the season. Still, his point is made that the game should be taken more seriously by those analyzing a campaign in its full, or else why play the game?