Former Manchester City midfielder Elano was a guest at ESPN Brasil on Tuesday, as he was invited on the Bate Bola show to make some comments ahead of the club’s game against Watford.
The ex-player spent some time with Pep Guardiola earlier this season, as he’s been studying in Europe to become a manager.
So when commenting on Man City’s lineup, Elano had an interesting story on how the Spaniard taught Benjamin Mendy to defend before an important match against Manchester United.
“Mendy was going to play against United. He already knew he was going to play. But he had a hard time in marking. Guardiola thought he was not behaving properly.
“First he had gone to a boxing fight some time before in London and Guardiola knew.”
Elano believes there was an attempt to lighten the mood, and explains: “Guardiola said to him: Cool, you were in London watching a boxing match. Go home to study boxing. You have morning training, What were you doing in London?
“The guy stayed home. Sent the guy home. He said: Stay studying boxing for a week, then you come back.”
The boxing episode happened in September, when Mendy even posted a picture on Twitter. At the time, Guardiola admitted he wasn’t happy with the player arriving late to training, but said he wasn’t training because he was injured.
Then the matches against Shakhtar Donetsk and Manchester United were played in mid November.
“And then he returned to training. And he was going to play against Manchester United. The guys played against Shakhtar on Wednesday and Sunday was the game against Manchester United.
“He took him, went to a separate field, the team that did not play was doing a normal training. He took him, went to a separate pitch, him, the assistant and the player.
“And then he was in that situation. He started saying to the guy where he had to go, how the ball was going to come in, in that situation where the ball came in he had to be positioned like this, when he was playing, he had to behave like that.
“Because there is correction. The guy already knew he was going to play. So he makes these individual corrections. So that’s what I’m talking about. With Guardiola, he corrects individually player by player.”
Elano played for Manchester City between 2007 and 2009, and made 80 appearances for the club. He retired playing for Santos in 2016, and was a caretaker manager for a period a year later. Now he’s waiting for his first chance in a proper job.