PEP AD­MITS FAIL­URE

I’d have been sacked at ‘big club’, says Man City boss

New Straits Times - - Sport - PEP GUARDI­OLA

MANCH­ESTER

PEP Guardi­ola has sug­gested the re­sults of his first sea­son as Manch­ester City man­ager would have seen him sacked by ei­ther Barcelona or Bay­ern Mu­nich.

Guardi­ola won 14 tro­phies in four sea­sons as man­ager at the Nou Camp, and seven in three years with Bay­ern.

He never fin­ished lower than sec­ond while in charge of Barcelona, while win­ning the Bun­desliga in each of his three sea­sons in Ger­many.

But the Spa­niard has found life more dif­fi­cult in Eng­land.

Guardi­ola can fin­ish no higher than third in this sea­son’s Premier League, which will be the low­est fi­nal plac­ing of his man­age­rial ca­reer. He will also end the cam­paign without a tro­phy for the first time as a coach.

He has ac­knowl­edged that he needs to do better if he is to avoid be­ing la­belled a fail­ure in the Premier League.

“I had pres­sure when I be­came man­ager at Barcelona, when I had no rep­u­ta­tion to de­fend my­self with,” Guardi­ola said on Monday.

“At that club, if in six months you don’t win, you are re­ally out. At Barcelona or Bay­ern Mu­nich, you have to win by far. If not, they don’t give you a sec­ond chance.

“Here they gave me a sec­ond chance and we will try to do it,” he added. “In my sit­u­a­tion at a big club: I’m sacked. I’m out. Sure. Def­i­nitely.

“At the clubs I worked at be­fore, I would not be here now, but here we have a sec­ond chance and we will try to do it better than this sea­son.”

Guardi­ola joined City on a three-year con­tract in July af­ter leav­ing Bay­ern Mu­nich, and still has the full back­ing of club owner Sheikh Man­sour and chair­man Khal­doon al Mubarak.

He ad­mits he has needed time to ad­just to English foot­ball — speak­ing sev­eral times this sea­son about the high num­ber of con­tenders for the Cham­pi­ons League spots, and re­veal­ing sur­prise at how chal­lenges that are fouls in Spain are al­lowed to go un­pun­ished in the Premier League.

But he is adamant he will get it right at City — be­cause he will not be given for­ever if he does not.

“If what hap­pens next sea­son is not go­ing well, I’ll have one more year of my con­tract. If it’s not go­ing well, they are go­ing to change man­ager,” Guardi­ola said.

“What is the pres­sure? Last sea­son, this sea­son, next sea­son, all the man­agers in the first five or six clubs they have the pres­sure.

“I put it on my­self, to come here, to prove my­self, that I am able to do it with a fan­tas­tic club.

“One team were better, Chelsea, so con­grat­u­la­tions to them, they de­serve by far to win the league.

“Tot­ten­ham, the sec­ond team, played out­stand­ing foot­ball again when they beat Manch­ester United on Sun­day. They played amaz­ing.

“The gap is big in terms of points. But when we played against those teams, the gap was not too big and we are go­ing to shorten it next sea­son.”

Guardi­ola reck­ons his play­ers have been good enough to have achieved more this sea­son, but have paid the price for not be­ing ruth­less enough in attack, and for be­ing too gen­er­ous in de­fence.

Vin­cent Kom­pany’s re­turn from a se­ries of in­jury trou­bles have given City a more solid look, but the man­ager re­mains con­cerned.

“I have to be hon­est, I no­tice we are hav­ing prob­lems in the boxes and we didn’t solve it so I have to an­a­lyse it my­self this summer,” said Guardi­ola.

“I have a feel­ing with Vin­cent we are stronger in the box. In foot­ball it de­pends on the qual­ity of the play­ers. The man­agers don’t play — we have to be on the side­line.

“It’s about the qual­ity of our play­ers. And I think with the qual­ity of our play­ers is enough to have been better. My only re­gret is that we were not able to fight to the end in the Premier League.

“One-and-a-half months or two months ago, it was al­ready done. I think we have qual­ity enough to have been there un­til the end.” AFP

At that club, if in six months you don’t win, you are re­ally out. At Barcelona or Bay­ern Mu­nich, you have to win by far. If not, they don’t give you a sec­ond chance.

Manch­ester City man­ager Pep Guardi­ola says he’s lucky to still be the boss.

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