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Friday 25 May 2018

Pep Guardiola hailed a ‘genius’ following Manchester City’s title triumph

Summerbee feels Guardiola’s team are playing a brand of football that has rarely been seen.

Pep Guardiola
Pep Guardiola

By Andy Hampson, Press Association Sport

Mike Summerbee has hailed Pep Guardiola as a “genius” following Manchester City’s latest title win.

Summerbee, one of the stars of the City side that were crowned champions in 1968, also feels Guardiola’s team are playing a brand of football that has rarely been seen.

City were confirmed as Premier League winners on Sunday as closest challengers Manchester United were beaten by West Brom.

It has been an outstanding campaign for Guardiola’s side, who have not only dominated the competition but done so by playing attractive, attacking football.

Summerbee, 75, told Press Association Sport: “The belief Pep has given them and the way they play is quite amazing. It is a real pleasure to watch. I am privileged to be able to watch them play.

“It is quite unique what he has done. I think he is a genius, to be honest.

“The quality of the players, the control of the ball, their first touch in close quarters – the way they work is amazing.

“I’ve not seen quality like this for a long time, especially in the Premier League.”

Summerbee feels the standards City have set surpass those of recent sides. The best comparison to make, he feels, is with the Ferenc Puskas-inspired Hungary side that famously overwhelmed England 6-3 in 1953.

He said: “The last time I ever saw anything like this – excluding Barcelona – was the great Hungarian side that played against England at Wembley.

“They also had a big effect on English football, that great side with Puskas and Nandor Hidegkuti. They came and people couldn’t believe what they were seeing.”

Summerbee is pleased that Guardiola, who also guided City to Carabao Cup success in February, has proved doubters wrong after his trophyless first season in England.

He said: “People expected him to come over and walk straight into it and win everything. It doesn’t work that way. The Premier League is difficult.

“I thought he did very well last season, you could see what he was building. Now we are seeing what he is building and he is still building. It is quite amazing for me.”

City’s title win comes 20 years after they were relegated to the third tier during a bleak spell in the club’s history.

Paul Dickov, a member of that side, has also been thrilled watching the current crop.

The 45-year-old said: “It has been fantastic. In pre-season people were saying this was probably going to be the hardest Premier League to win in a long time, so for City to have the title wrapped up with that sort of competition, with five games to go, is an unbelievable achievement.”

Dickov also feels there is much more to come from this City team.

He said: “The players do what the manager wants them to do and do it with no fear whatsoever.

“There is a great atmosphere about the place and a youthful enthusiasm. I am sure they will be so much stronger next year, which is a scary thought for everyone else.”

Press Association

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