Manchester City’s Pep Guardiola could never win a trophy again and still have his legacy as one of the best ever managers secured, according to the club’s former defender Joleon Lescott.
Guardiola has won the Premier League title four out of his six years in England but is still heavily criticised for not having won the Champions League since he left Barcelona in 2012.
However in an exclusive interview with WBD Sports, Lescott explains why that is “silly”, pointing to the wider impact Guardiola has had on the game as a whole.
“I think, the way the game is viewed now, and the way pretty much every team wants to play and coaches want to coach – he has to have had an impact on that.
“For him to be deemed a failure in a football game or the English Premier League or football in general, it is silly to me. Regardless if he doesn’t win any trophies again, City will love him.”
Lescott also said that what makes Guardiola so impressive is that his teams are always contenders and every year they are the benchmark to be beaten.
“I think he’s going to be favourite to win the league every year, he’s in control,” Lescott said.
“And I believe when Pep steps away it becomes more competitive, because there’s more chances for teams, whereas now I think you have to be immaculate to win the league, and I don’t think there are seven teams that can be immaculate – it’s impossible. There are potentially one or two other teams, we’ve seen Arsenal this year, but I think to go back to a normal regime, it will have to be after he leaves because what he’s demanded and created is so unique.
“And he’s done it year after year. That is such a difficult thing to do and that has to be respected.”
A large part of City’s success this season has come from summer signing Erling Haaland, who has 18 goals in just 13 Premier League appearances. WBD Sports asked Lescott, as a former defender, how one can go about stopping the Norwegian.
“I’ve been asked this loads of times and I’ve said the same answer that [Brentford boss] Thomas Frank alluded to before the game [the Bees’ trip to the Etihad last weekend] – you don’t necessarily stop him,” Lescott commented.
“With world-class players you don’t tend to stop them, you have to affect their supply line and Brentford did that on the weekend with the way they stopped Kevin De Bruyne, which then limits the chances created for Haaland. So that is probably the simpler way. Though that’s easier said than done of course. If Haaland’s given what we’ve seen this season, two, three or four chances per game, that tends to be two or three goals. So you have to nullify the chances rather than try and tackle it as an individual.
“It’s like, where do these chances come from? How are they created? ‘Okay, let’s prevent that scenario rather than only solely worry about what Haaland does’, because if you do solely worry about him, and if you don’t overcompensate for all this then again, the chances are created and he will score.”