Later News Nov 23

Pep Guardiola gives Manchester United target Mauricio Pochettino his stamp of approval

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has pooh-poohed suggestions that Mauricio Pochettino’s lack of silverware makes him a bad coach, and insists the Argentinian is an “excellent manager”.


Pochettino, who currently manages Man City’s brother in oil, Paris Saint-Germain, has just two trophies to his name since starting his managerial journey in 2009.


However, those two trophies – the Coupe de France and Trophée des Champions – are the French equivalent of the FA Cup and Community shield, and many believe that is not good enough, considering the array of talent that Pochettino has at his disposal at PSG.


WATCH: PSG celebrate after winning the French Cup


The 49-year-old’s failure to land the French Ligue 1 title last season, despite having the likes of Kylian Mbappe and Neymar in his team, was widely considered to be a huge blemish on his record.


Nonetheless, Pochettino, who is most known for his role in Tottenham Hotspur’s DVD which famously chronicles how they ended up empty-handed in the 2018-2019 season, is reportedly on Manchester United’s shortlist of managers to replace the recently fired Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.


And while there are misgivings among certain sections of the United fanbase about the suitability of having a serial underachiever at their club, Guardiola has moved to reassure them that Pochettino is actually quite a catch.


Speaking ahead of Man City’s Champions League Group A match against PSG, Guardiola said: “I am sure managers are better every year. Every season you have a lot of learnings. I am pretty sure he is an excellent manager.


WATCH: Behind the scenes of PSG's 2-0 win over Man City


“You can be a top manager and not win titles. For the managers who have a chance to win is because you are at top clubs, with good investment and top players. That doesn’t mean managers in the Championship or not at the top of the Premier League aren’t excellent managers.”


Of course, Guardiola is also the same person who said that he was a “big fan” of Mikel Arteta, just minutes after seeing his side thrash Arsenal 5-0, so perhaps his judgement of managers isn’t quite all that.


One thing that is undisputed, however, is that Guardiola’s judgement of players is usually pretty spot on.


With the Spaniard set to see his side go up against his former protégé in Lionel Messi on Thursday morning (SGT), Guardiola admitted that, unlike the dastardly tactics employed by Jose Mourinho, he had no special plan to keep the former Barcelona star quiet.


WATCH: Guardiola admits it's difficult to predict what Messi is going to do


“It’s so difficult. Sometimes when he has the ball, he doesn’t know what he’s going to do – so imagine you have to know what he is going to do,” said Guardiola.


“There are players who you can say if they will go right or left. When he has the ball, not even he knows exactly what he is going to do. I cannot tell the players what he (Messi) will do, but hey, it happens with Neymar and (Kylian) Mbappe, with (Angel) Di Maria, with all the players up front in this team.


“Every player could be a complete star in any team around the world, and all four are in the same team. But I am still glad and happy that he is still playing, at the level he plays and with the quality, so it will be nice to face him.”




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