Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola is the “Heston Blumenthal of football” according to West Ham United boss David Moyes, who takes his high-flying side to the Etihad Stadium on Saturday looking to cook up a shock against the Premier League leaders.
British celebrity chef Blumenthal is well known for his creative concoctions, which include unusual culinary delights like snail porridge and bacon and egg flavoured ice cream.
Spaniard Guardiola is also innovative in his profession, giving a virtual free role to Portuguese full-back Joao Cancelo to maraud into midfield and cause havoc for opposing defences.
“I might draw a really bad analogy here,” 57-year-old Scot Moyes told British media on Friday. “Heston Blumenthal, who mixes chocolate with eggs or something stupid and outrageous. Pep is nearly the Heston Blumenthal of football.
“He does things where you think ‘that is never going to work, that’s not going to taste right or look good’.
“Pep does things in football terms which are remarkable. He is always looking for new ideas. He is innovative.”
Former Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager Guardiola has fashioned a City team who are on a 19-game winning run in all competitions, a record for a top-flight English team, and stand unbeaten in 26 matches stretching back to November.
“I get this feeling he is in a think-tank room, thinking about how he can make his players perform better, or where they can receive the ball in space and make it so difficult for the opposition,” added Moyes, whose team are sitting fourth.
“That is how I look at Pep. I look at him in such high esteem. He has worked at clubs that have given him the chance to do that. But at the top clubs, the only way you keep your job is to win and he is doing a good job.
“He has done lots of things you would never dream of. Pep has done lots of things lots of people would not have thought of doing.”
Using Cancelo as full-back and midfielder at the same time is just one example of Guardiola’s tactical nous.
“Snail porridge? That’s what I’m talking about,” said Moyes. “It’s ridiculous. Full-backs going into midfield … he’s done things as a football coach which lots of people wouldn’t have thought of doing.”
In terms of celebrity chefs, Moyes reckons he is more like one of his no-nonsense compatriots.
“Gordon Ramsay, all day long!” he said with a smile. “And you know what you’re getting there, don’t you?”