Sunday 8 December 2019

Pressure on Pep Guardiola to succeed at Manchester City will be huge - Herrera

Manchester United midfielder Ander Herrera is looking forward to seeing Pep Guardiola in the Premier League
Manchester United midfielder Ander Herrera is looking forward to seeing Pep Guardiola in the Premier League

Manchester United midfielder Ander Herrera has welcomed the impending arrival of Pep Guardiola to the Barclays Premier League but believes the pressure on his fellow Spaniard to be a success at Manchester City will be huge.

Guardiola will replace Manuel Pellegrini as City boss in the summer after eight trophy-laden years in charge of Barcelona and Bayern Munich.

Although Guardiola is taking over at United's arch-rivals, Herrera is pleased to see the 45-year-old coming to England - but he also had a warning for his compatriot.

"I'm looking at it from a positive point of view. They're going to make us do better ourselves. Historically, City have always been below United, and this gives them a psychological advantage, because they are coming from behind," Herrera told Spanish newspaper Marca.

"With Pep, with the multi-million pound outlay they've made and will spend with him, I expect the pressure to be higher for them.

"The fans are going to expect a lot: that they win the Premier League with a 10-point gap, that they reach the Champions League final....

"Pep seems a phenomenon to me. His teams always entertain me a lot, but at City the expectations will be very big."

United were also linked with a move for Guardiola as speculation about the future of Louis van Gaal persisted.

Van Gaal has found himself under pressure for some disappointing United performances this season, but Herrera believes it would be "unfair" to sack the Dutchman.

He said: "The perspective is different here. In England there is more patience, not only with Van Gaal. (Jose) Mourinho, being three points from relegation, wasn't sacked. (Arsene) Wenger went nine years without any titles and continues there. City went three weeks without winning and there weren't any doubts about Pellegrini.

"So, returning to Van Gaal, I think it would be unfair to sack him because the way of working in England is to give confidence, and we still have the chance of winning three titles: FA Cup, Europa League and Premier League, even though we are 10 points from Leicester. Distances are less here."

It remains to be seen if Van Gaal will still be in charge next season, with Jose Mourinho being touted as a possible replacement - some reports this week even suggesting a deal has already been struck for the Portuguese to take over at Old Trafford in the summer.

It has been suggested that Mourinho's style of play might not fit with United, who have traditionally preferred attack-minded football, but Herrera sees no evidence to suggest that the former Real Madrid and Chelsea boss is negative.

He said: "I find that funny. Let's see, Mourinho played at Chelsea with Cesc (Fabregas), Willian, Oscar, (Eden) Hazard and Diego Costa. There was only (Nemanja) Matic as a defensive midfielder. That's not an attractive style of play?

"Or at Madrid, where his side scored a record amount of goals in one year?

"And aside from that he is a coach who soaks up the pressure on the players, someone who prefers to take the heat so that his players can be relaxed.

"I only know that his Chelsea, with all the difficulty that comes with it, won the Premier League last season with four weeks to spare.

"Then, and this is the other thing, Van Gaal has a year of his contract left and could continue. Why not? But it doesn't seem to me that Mourinho is a defensive coach. If you compare him to (Rayo Vallecano coach) Paco Jemez then yes, but not in essence. I've seen his Chelsea side play well."

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