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The Question: Will the three-year rule do for Barcelona?

"The third year," the great Hungarian coach Bela Guttmann always said, "is fatal." If a manager stays at a club more than that, he said, his players tend to become bored and/or complacent and opponents start to work out counter-strategies. There are occasional exceptions, especially in weaker leagues, but at the highest level it seems to hold true that great teams last a maximum of three years – which is why Barcelona's draw against Espanyol on Saturday may be more significant than just two dropped points. This, after all, is Pep Guardiola's fourth season as a manager at the Camp Nou.

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