Wednesday 28 June 2017

Guardiola: I have more power than ever as a manager

Pep Guardiola has received the backing of the Manchester City owners. Photo: Getty Images
Pep Guardiola has received the backing of the Manchester City owners. Photo: Getty Images

James Ducker

Pep Guardiola brushed off the biggest Champions League failure of his managerial career by insisting he had never felt so powerful as a coach.

The Manchester City manager said he received the full backing of Khaldoon al-Mubarak, the club's chairman, in the wake of their Champions League round-of-16 exit to Monaco.

Guardiola, who had never failed to reach the Champions League semi-finals before, could finish the season without a trophy for the first time in eight seasons as a manager if City do not win the FA Cup.

But the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich coach said he had never experienced such empowerment and had been emboldened by the steadfast support of City's hierarchy since his team threw away a two-goal advantage to bow out on away goals to Monaco after a 6-6 aggregate scoreline.

"I received a text message from him (al-Mubarak) the day after (Monaco)," Guardiola said ahead of City's crucial Premier League game at home to Liverpool tomorrow.

Asked what the chairman's reaction was, the Catalan said: "What do you believe? He prefers to win the Champions League, he was not there (at the game) but he is always close (to me). A few times in my career I felt (this) with Joan Laporta, my old (Barcelona) president.

"So I always feel he (al-Mubarak) is always there, so close to the team, so close to me, but he knows and I know better than him how it works when that result happens. Always we are going to take a decision but I always feel in the good moments and bad moments, especially in the bad moments, (that support). I saw his reaction (and) I am really impressed. I appreciate that a lot."

City's Champions League elimination has increased the pressure on Guardiola to ensure the team finish in the top four. They face a critical run of games, with the visit of Liverpool followed by matches away to Arsenal and Liverpool after the international break. But Guardiola has been reassured by the reaction from City's powerbrokers. "I met the big boss Sheikh Mansour (the City owner) in Abu Dhabi and I know the plan, it's a team that took the next step seven years ago and we are thinking about getting better," he said.

"I want to be involved in that as much as possible and to help my team to make the next step and I have more power than ever in my life as a manager."

Vincent Kompany was omitted from the squad against Monaco despite being fully fit and is also expected to miss tomorrow's clash, but Guardiola said: "He was a long time injured and sometimes he played but was injured again so I could risk him and not be so sure (he would last)." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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