Manchester, United Kingdom: 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 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 was 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.
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