FC Barcelona defender Gerard Pique, who has played under two of the greatest managers of modern football, compared Pep Guardiola to Sir Alex Ferguson and spoke on his experiences of being coached by them.
Pique went from the La Masia academy in Barcelona to Manchester United in 2004, and stayed with the Premier League club for four years, a regular in the first team of the 2007/08 season when they won the UEFA Champions League.
The Spain international then went on to move back to Barcelona, where he played under Pep Guardiola, graduallly winning almost every club competition in Spain, and also the Champions League. Having played under both managers, Pique was asked by ex-Manchester United and England defender Rio Ferdinand to compare the two men, in an interview with BT Sport [via Daily Mirror].
“Both of them, you can see their careers – they are both fantastic,” said Pique when asked about Guardiola and Sir Alex.
However, he also said that both Guardiola and Sir Alex have their own distinct styles of coaching, from which he has clearly benefited as a player.
“When I was at Manchester United, Sir Alex Ferguson was already 20 years a coach so he took the position of the coach in a different style,” said Pique. “Guardiola was young and he was really intense, every day. When I was at United, I remember Queiroz as the man who did the training. Sir Alex was more outside, controlling everything.”
To this, Ferdinand wittily asked him, “Like the godfather?”
“Exactly,” replied Pique.
However, the 29-year-old does not believe that Guardiola can live up to his achievements with Barcelona at Manchester City.
“Pep will be a success, but I don’t think he’ll ever replicate what he did at Barcelona because that was a high standard. They were the best.”
Premier League the toughest challenge of Pep’s career?
Many experts and pundits have often said that the Premier League is one of the toughest leagues to be a manager in, because of the fierce competition between the top clubs. If anything, the current season has only helped to re-establish that point, with minnows Leicester City leading the table by seven points.
In all the other top leagues in Europe, the current table toppers are all traditional heavyweights — Barcelona in La Liga, Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga, and Juventus in the Serie A. However, only the Premier League has seen a team that barely avoided relegation last season lead the league by seven points in the current campaign.
It will be interesting to see how Guardiola takes to this high level of competition at Manchester City next season, and what innovative techniques (and formations) he uses to beat his rivals.