Former Bayern Munich manager Felix Magath has hammered Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola, saying he only had the success he had at Barcelona because of Lionel Messi.
Guardiola was promoted from the B team to take over Barcelona in 2008 and went on to win three La Liga titles and two Champions Leagues in a dominant spell.
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However since moving to Bayern and City Guardiola has struggled to replicate his successes in Europe, albeit he has still produced sides that dominate domestically.
And speaking to German outlet Sport Bild Magath was pretty confident he knew why.
“Messi won the titles, not Guardiola,” he said. “Without Messi, this system has never worked as successfully for Guardiola, otherwise he would have won the Champions League with Bayern or Manchester City long ago.
Pep Guardiola Leo Messi
Image credit: Getty Images
Tiki-taka only works if you have players who are technically superior to their opponents. For the spectator, holding the ball, as I call it, is just boring and a top team doesn’t really need it.
“In my opinion, Guardiola generally too often gets lost in trying to win a game in advance. That tactic often ends in wrong decisions, which prevent success.”
Magath went on to hail his compatriot Jurgen Klopp, who has won both the Premier League and the Champions League since taking over at Liverpool.
“Jurgen Klopp made the system a success primarily thanks to his decisions on personnel, not because of tactics,” he said.
Jurgen Klopp celebrates Liverpool’s 3-1 win over Arsenal
Image credit: Getty Images
“If Liverpool hadn’t reached into the coffers and bought goalkeeper Alisson for €60 million (£55m/$70m) and a defender in Virgil van Dijk for €85m (£77m/$100m), this system would also likely not have been successful.
“In the past, I’d have called it counter-attacking; today, it is called ‘Gegenpressing’.”
Does Magath have a point? Look the facts don’t lie, Guardiola hasn’t won the Champions League since he left Barcelona and on more than one occasion you could put his team’s exit down to the decisions he made.
Yet there has also been an element of poor luck at times for Guardiola, plus Messi has won just one Champions League title since his old manager’s decision to step away, so if Messi was the only reason why hasn’t he won more?
Plus you can’t imagine Guardiola will be losing too much sleep over comments from a man whose greatest European success as a manager came in the Intertoto Cup…
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