Pep Guardiola: Man City manager addicted to winning

The 53-year-old has won 12 league titles in 15 seasons as a senior coach

AFP May 20, 2024


Pep Guardiola's ability to bend the Premier League to his will was once questioned but the Manchester City manager has seen off the early doubters during a period of unprecedented dominance.

Since a difficult first campaign at the Etihad in 2016/17, Guardiola has established a remarkable record that now stands at six Premier League titles in seven seasons.

The Catalan has turned City into a winning machine similar to those he oversaw at Barcelona and Bayern Munich in his first years as a globe-trotting manager.

The 53-year-old has now won 12 league titles in 15 seasons as a senior coach across three of the toughest divisions in the world, in Spain, Germany and England.

Guardiola also has three Champions League titles to his name -- the joint second-highest tally in the history of European club football's elite competition.

With numerous other trophies in his collection, he is already one of the most decorated coaches in football history.

Former Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson won 13 Premier League titles in 27 campaigns at Old Trafford but Guardiola's strike rate when it comes to the grind of a 38-game season is unmatched.

In two of the three campaigns in which he has failed to win league titles, it took club-record points tallies from Liverpool (99 points in 2019/20) and Real Madrid (100 points in 2011/12).

"It's a bit demanding at times. It's tough, but look what he's done," City striker Erling Haaland said of Guardiola. "He demands a lot every single day. If you don't live up to what he expects, you have a big problem."

Guardiola's influence goes well beyond lifting silverware.

His brand of passing football and insistence on building out from the back, even under pressure, is now a key part of the game from grassroots through to the elite level.

Even City's competitors have turned to Guardiola's disciples to catch up.

Second-placed Arsenal, managed by Guardiola's former assistant Mikel Arteta, narrowly missed out on their first Premier League title for 20 years this season, amassing 89 points to City's 91.

The arrival of former Barcelona midfielder Guardiola in England has coincided with an upturn in the national team's performances at major tournaments.

But that is no coincidence for England manager Gareth Southgate, who is likely to select four City stars -- Kyle Walker, John Stones, Phil Foden and Jack Grealish -- in his Euro 2024 squad.

"It has been brilliant for our players to work with him," said Southgate. "They have learned from him, individually and tactically and, as much as anything, their mentality."

However, Guardiola's notoriously exacting standards have helped chip away at the competitiveness of the Premier League.

City are now displaying the type of dominance shown by Paris Saint-Germain in France and German giants Bayern Munich, who unusually missed out on the title this season.

"There used to be an argument that clubs couldn't win the title back-to-back," said West Ham manager David Moyes after his side were unable to spoil the party following a 3-1 defeat by City at the Etihad on Sunday.

"He has blown that sky-high. Four in a row is incredible.

"Everyone in football is in awe of his coaching but there is more to it than that. He is a really good man-manager and has the ability to control players. His ability to manage is second to none."

Sadly for the competition, there appears at least one more year of the glorious Guardiola reign to come, with his contract running until 2025.

"I want to be here next season whatever happens," said Guardiola when quizzed on his future.


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