Does Man City's latest Champions League exit mean Pep Guardiola is overrated?

By George Davis, Mariah Ramharak&Lance Whittaker April 17, 2019

Pep Guardiola has not reached back to the final of the Champions League since leaving Barcelona.  Were those who appointed him the best coach in the world following his early successes too quick to do so?

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  • De Bruyne majesty makes Guardiola wonder how Manchester City star can still make simple errors De Bruyne majesty makes Guardiola wonder how Manchester City star can still make simple errors

    Pep Guardiola marvels at the defence-splitting passes from Kevin De Bruyne that drive Manchester City to new heights – and it makes him wonder how the Belgian occasionally bungles the elementary side of the game.

    It was a case of De Bruyne at his brilliant best in City's 8-0 thumping of Watford on Saturday, a result he capped with a sublime late strike.

    City would love him to reproduce the devastating playmaking skills that tore a hole in the Hornets' defence on a match-by-match basis, but not even De Bruyne can be perfect every day.

    Since De Bruyne made his City debut in September 2015, however, he has provided more Premier League assists than any other player, with 52 goals laid on for team-mates so far.

    There has been the odd stray pass, the odd near-anonymous performance.

    And Guardiola – a top-class midfielder himself before turning to coaching – stops to wonder how, when a player can be so peerless one day, at other times, no matter how infrequent, he can still look mortal.

    "He was quite good, yeah?" said Guardiola after De Bruyne's masterclass in the Watford match. "The guy has a future, yeah?"

    Guardiola's deadpan handling of questions about De Bruyne signals his appreciation of the 28-year-old's ability.

    "Kevin is a special player, sometimes he sees something the other guys cannot see on the pitch," said the former Barcelona head coach.

    "Sometimes I'm a little bit like 'Grrr', when it's a simple ball and he loses it. How, with your quality, can you lose it?

    "But he's an incredibly talented player, with his vision up front and the quality he has.

    "We had an incredible season, winning four titles, but we missed him a lot last season, because he's a special player. I'm happy he's here, happy for the club. When nobody knew him or nobody talked about him, the club were there and said, 'He can help us'."

  • Rumour Has It: Man United tracking Tuchel as Barca also eye PSG boss Rumour Has It: Man United tracking Tuchel as Barca also eye PSG boss

    Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is at the wheel but for how long?

    After a blistering start to life at Manchester United, initially as interim manager, the Red Devils have struggled to convince.

    United have won two of their opening five games ahead of Sunday's trip to West Ham and Paris could be the location of a possible replacement…

     

    TOP STORY – UNITED AND BARCA BATTLE FOR TUCHEL

    Manchester United have sounded out Paris Saint-Germain head coach Thomas Tuchel, according to Le10 Sport.

    United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer signed a permanent three-year deal after initially replacing Jose Mourinho in December, but the Red Devils have been far from convincing following a brief upturn in results.

    United have reportedly informed Tuchel of their interest, though LaLiga champions Barcelona are also tracking the German as pressure mounts on Ernesto Valverde after Saturday's shock loss at Granada.

     

    ROUND-UP

    - According to the Sunday Express, Tottenham have identified Leicester City star James Maddison as a potential replacement for soon-to-be free agent Christian Eriksen. Maddison has also been heavily linked to Manchester United.

    United, meanwhile, have been told it will take £90million (€101m) to lure Germany star Kai Havertz from Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen, claims the Express. The 20-year-old is also attracting interest from Bayern Munich, Manchester City and Liverpool. As for United and their hopes of signing RB Salzburg star Erling Haaland, they could be scuppered by agent Mino Raiola. The 19-year-old made headlines with a hat-trick on his Champions League debut. However, United's relationship with Raiola could thwart their plans, writes The Sun.

    - The Mirror says Arsenal are keen to re-sign PSV's Donyell Malen, who left the Gunners two years ago. It could cost Arsenal up to £50m (€56m) to bring the 20-year-old back to London. Liverpool are also believed to be interested.

    - Marca reports that Real Madrid are keen to sign Rennes sensation Eduardo Camavinga. The 16-year-old has dazzled in Ligue 1 this season.

  • Klopp understands Guardiola joke: Liverpool haven't won title already Klopp understands Guardiola joke: Liverpool haven't won title already

    Jurgen Klopp dismissed Pep Guardiola's suggestion that Liverpool have already wrapped up the Premier League title.

    Klopp's Liverpool have won their opening five matches to be two points clear of reigning champions Manchester City atop the table heading into Sunday's trip to Chelsea.

    City manager Guardiola declared, "Congratulations Liverpool, you are the champions" following last week's shock 3-2 defeat at Norwich City, which allowed the Reds to move five points clear prior to the titleholders' 8-0 humiliation of Watford on Saturday.

    Liverpool boss Klopp – whose side finished just one point adrift of City last season – responded to Guardiola's comment and said: "It hasn't been won already.

    "This season won't be like last season. We have seen that already, with every team making big steps.

    "There is not [a] team in the league who I think will go down with hardly any points. You've got Watford who were at the bottom with two points but, ­performance-wise, they could ­already have had five, six or seven points.

    "Wolves are also struggling a bit – but will end up going back up – so we have ­already seen that the league is different this season.

    "I think that's why Pep ­responded like he did with a joke because ­nothing has happened so far.

    "We've had just five games and so many things can still happen. You simply cannot think that far ahead.

    "We have enough to do just ­thinking about the next game, then the next game and the next game."

    While Liverpool agonisingly missed out on the Premier League title last term, the Reds have continued to establish themselves as one of Europe's elite under Klopp.

    Liverpool won the 2018-19 Champions League trophy after defeating Tottenham in June – a particularly satisfying achievement for former Borussia Dortmund boss Klopp, who had lost his previous six finals.

    "It's nice for me to tick that box," Klopp told Sky Sports. "Some people said I was a nearly-man. I didn't feel like that - the finals I've reached shows something was okay - but it's nice. I don't have to worry about it anymore."

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