Who said what as Pep Guardiola is announced as Manchester City manager
The biggest news of Transfer Deadline Day wasn’t the signing of any player but that of a manager. Manchester City announced that Pep Guardiola would be taking over as their manager, with Manuel Pellegrini stepping down from the role at the end of the season. Predictably, the biggest news of January did not pass by without comment from managers and pundits around the world.
Here are a few of the reactions from the footballing universe:
It’s best to start with those who know Guardiola best – his former players.
Robert Lewandowski isn’t in any doubts about the changes Pep Guardiola will bring to Manchester City, saying “He will focus on technique and perhaps more possession than is the norm in England. But Pep knows the Premier League is different from the Spanish league or the Bundesliga but I’m sure he can do something new in terms of tactics and technique.”
Thierry Henry played under Guardiola’s management in his time at Barcelona, and the legendary Frenchman is sure that the Catalan manager will improve Manchester City no end, saying “When Pep arrives at Man City he is going to come with his clear ideas, I can assure you that the team is going to play way better football - and that's a statement because they already play some great stuff at times, especially at the Etihad.”
“They will play better under him and he will come and some [players] will have to leave. Trust me, when he arrived at Barcelona he did the same thing, he wanted some players out, he did the same thing at Bayern Munich and I think he's going to do the same thing with Manchester [City].”
Eidur Gudjohnsen was a fringe player at Barcelona when Guardiola was in charge, but the Icelandic international is quite sure of the Catalan’s success, saying “He knows the game inside out, he spends a lot of time focusing on details, how you can hurt the opposition. In his first season with Barcelona we were very, very successful and he's taken it from there.”
Guardiola’s former teammate at Barcelona, Luis Figo is a bit circumspect about Guardiola’s success, saying “I don't know. I hope so. He is a friend. He has been successful in the past with Barcelona and Bayern Munich so I think so. You can never guarantee anything though.”
Guardiola is famous for his fastidious preparation, and will definitely consult his managerial peers about what to expect from Manchester City and the Premier League. Some of his former rivals have had contrasting reactions:
Jurgen Klopp was his usual voluminous self when speaking about the Catalan’s appointment, saying “He is one of the best managers in the world, no doubt about this. He had two big, big clubs where he has worked at and now he will do his job at Manchester City. Pep won everything in Spain, nearly everything in Germany, so I think he wants to win everything in England, that is clear.”
“He will enjoy the league because it is a great league and a real competition and he is a real competitor. That is what he wants. I don't think that it will be the same situation as he had in Spain, with Barcelona on the top level, or in Germany with Bayern on the top level, but City have good possibilities.”
In stark contrast, Jose Mourinho had ‘nothing to say’ when he was asked about Guardiola’s arrival in the Premier League, as evidenced by the following tweets :
Harry Redknapp was pleased with Guardiola’s appointment but criticized the timing of the announcement, saying “City are fighting on all fronts still, and you wonder what signal it sends out to the players when they know the manager isn't going to be there at the end of the year. Pellegrini is an excellent manager and a really nice guy. I'm sure he'll want to go out as a success. It's a massive move for Man City. Guardiola is really a big statement.”
As for the reaction among formey players and pundits, the universal opinion is that Guardiola is a fantastic appointment, although Rio Ferdinand and Michael Owen are very fearful for their former club, Manchester United.
Jermaine Jenas, now a pundit on televison, spoke about Guardiola’s ability to lure players, saying “As a player, you would like to go and play under Pep because you know he would improve you. Some of the top players in Europe are not just about money. There was a time when that was all City had to offer, but Guardiola gives them a different attraction.”