London (AFP) – New manager Pep Guardiola is an “incredible asset” who will “transform” Manchester City, the Premier League club’s chairman said Monday.
Guardiola will arrive at Eastlands with a stellar reputation, having twice won the Champions League with Barceloma and seven titles in three years with Bayern Munich, whom the 45-year-old Spaniard left at the end of last season.
Khaldoon al-Mubarak, City’s chairman since the club was bought by the Abu Dhabi United group in September 2006, is in no doubt that Guardiola was the right man to replace Manuel Pellegrini.
“I’m absolutely excited about Pep joining our team,” he told City TV, the club’s in-house television station.
“I consider Pep to be one of the best, if not the best, managers today in football.
“He’s a winner, he’s a proven winner, he has won professionally in every team he has coached, his record at Bayern Munich, his record at Barcelona, I think speaks for itself.
“The trophies he’s won…every single club competition out there, from the Champions League to La Liga to the Bundesliga, to the respective cups…I have no doubt that he will transform our team to a whole new level.”
Mubarak met with Guardiola in Abu Dhabi earlier this week, although City’s new manager does not officially start work until next month.
Last season saw City, who confirmed Guardiola was taking over during the campaign, finish fourth under Chilean boss Pellegrini and edge out local rivals Manchester United for a place in the Champions League.
Pellegrini’s three years in charge yielded three trophies, winning the Premier League and the League Cup in his first season.
No silverware made it to Eastlands in 2014/15 but last term saw City lift the League Cup again and get to the semi-finals of the Champions League.
But that’s not good enough as far as City’s owners are concerned, with domestic and Champions League titles in their sights, for all that Mubarak acknowledged Pellegrini’s contribution to the club.
“Let’s be objective first,” the City chairman said.
“Over three years we won our second Premier League title in the history of the club, we’ve won two League Cups under Manuel, we’ve gone to the semi-finals of the Champions League for the first time, we’ve scored — I think — an incredible amount of goals.
“So there are a lot of achievements that have been made in those three years that I think we all have to recognise… Manuel and the team around him, we should thank them and be grateful for these achievements.
“At the same time, I think we also can’t hide the disappointment, particularly this year.
“I think all of us came with high expectations for this season, and I think, at the end of the day, I cannot hide the disappointment of myself, obviously (club owner) Sheikh Mansour, I know the fans of the club, and I’m sure the entire team.”
Guardiola’s first match as City manager will be a pre-season friendly away to former club Bayern in Munich on July 20.
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