Paul Merson: “Anyone else would have been sacked. But he gets away with it because of his reputation. Look, Guardiola might come back next season and win the lot. But I very much doubt it. I just think he tries to be too clever all the time. When he tinkers and it comes off everyone says he’s a genius. But how many times has he tinkered now in the Champions League and lost? He’s there to make City the best team in Europe. He hasn’t even got them into the final!”
“Why did he play Kevin De Bruyne further up the pitch against Lyon? Who’s going to get him the ball, Ilkay Gundogan? I don’t think so. Why did he play three at the back against Lyon when you know they are going to sit back and counter? He tries to be too clever for his own good. Let’s be honest, he’s very fortunate they haven’t sacked him.
“Pep Guardiola is lucky to still have a job because if he was anybody else Manchester City would have sacked him by now. This season has been an absolute disaster for them – and Guardiola is the only manager in football who would keep his job after failing so badly. City finished almost 20 points behind Liverpool. They lost in the Champions League to the team who finished SEVENTH in France. They lost an FA Cup semi final to Arsenal – against his old assistant. Okay, they won the League Cup. Wow. With their squad, that’s almost a gimme. They’ve got £50m players in every position!
It frustrates me. He’s managed unbelievable teams for the last few years now and never once looked close to winning the Champions League. Yes, his teams can play great football. But he has great players. Of course they can. How wouldn’t you play great football with the players they’ve got? Great managers are managers who turn OK players into great players, like Jurgen Klopp has done. Look at Mo Salah and Sadio Mane. They were good players. Now they are world class. No-one saw that coming. Pep Guardiola BUYS great players. He doesn’t MAKE them.”
But if he leaves, he’s only going to go to a team who are already dominating, isn’t he? He’s not going to Everton and turning them into champions. That’s why what Klopp’s done was so unbelievable. They were nowhere before he came. Now they are miles better than City. And that’s why I think it’s Liverpool’s title to lose next season.”
Raheem Sterling has got better under Pep. But when he missed that sitter the other night you weren’t shocked, were you? His team broke every record going not so long ago. But let’s not forget, when he first came here he didn’t win a trophy. I think Guardiola will give it another year at City and try to win the Champions League.”