Mauricio Pochettino is the heavy favourite to takeover from sacked Man Utd manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer but will first take his PSG side to tackle Pep Guardiola’s Man City in the Champions League
Mauricio Pochettino is still an elite manager, despite having not won a major trophy – according to Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola.
Former Tottenham boss Pochettino can only boast the French Cup on his managerial CV, despite having guided Spurs to the Champions League final and Premier League’s top four.
Although the 49-year-old PSG boss has yet to win a major title as a coach, Guardiola says the likes of Pochettino can still be regarded in the elite bracket of world-class managers.
“Yes, you can be a top manager without titles, of course,” said Guardiola, who has won multiple titles with Barcelona, Bayern Munich and City.
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“The managers who have the chance to win titles are at top, top clubs, with good investments and exceptional players. Otherwise it’s impossible to win.
“That doesn’t mean the managers in the Championship or in the Premier League, but outside the top six at the top, cannot be excellent managers in tactics, and communication, leading the team, as human beings. So it’s not necessary to win titles to be a top manager.
“It’s completely different, different countries, different players, shapes, even with the same manager and same team, it can be different in one year to another.
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“New players, new management set-up, the situation is different, completely different to Tottenham when he was there.
“But I’m pretty sure the managers get better every year. Every season we go through you have a lot of learning every season, I’m pretty sure he’s an excellent manager.”
With the latest Ballon d’Or winner to be announced next week, Guardiola said he cannot see cannot see the competition being dominated by Messi and Ronaldo, like it has been for two decades.
“I don’t imagine what these two guys have done will be almost impossible to imitate,” said Guardiola.
“The amount of goals they have scored, it’s unique, in the whole of history, to find two like them to do what they have done.”
Tonight City will be looking to avenge their 2-0 defeat away to PSG back in September, when Messi scored a trademark stunning goal late on to seal the win over his former boss.
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“Everyone knows the quality and personality that PSG and their players have,” said Guardiola.
“It will be different to the last game against Everton, with the players they have. I’m not judging them, but the players we will face are very different.”
City remain without Kevin De Bruyne, who is isolating after testing positive for Covid-19, while Jack Grealish is in contention to play after resuming training.
“Jack is much better,” said Guardiola. “There are some niggles for some players. Tomorrow we have the last training session and we will decide then who will play.
“Unfortunately, Kevin is not available. I don’t know when his isolation period ends. We’ll do another PCR test and then hopefully it will be negative and he’ll be back.”
“Unfortunately, in the Champions League, we have not achieved our aim which is to win the competition,” he said.
City midfielder Bernardo Silva said: “In the Champions League, small details can make the difference and one mistake can knock us out.
“But we’re now in a good position to qualify for the next phase.”