Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 2nd 2016 Contents A47
Tuesday, February 2, 2016 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
MANCHESTER---Pep Guardiola and Manchester
City have long been considered a likely match: Soc-
cer's most admired coach and a club with massive
spending power seeking to become the dominant
force in Europe.
It's been four years in the making, but finally they'll
City announced yesterday that Guardiola will take
over as manager on a three-year contract starting
next season, furthering the English team's goal to be
a global superpower.
Guardiola will replace Manuel Pellegrini, who---
minutes before City's announcement---ended a pre-
game news conference by saying he would be leaving
MADRID---Gary Neville knew that coaching at a
high level wasn't going to be easy. He certainly
didn't expect to be struggling so badly so early.
Less than two months into his first head-coaching
job, the former Manchester United great is already
in danger of being fired.
Language problems, injuries, disappointing results,
unhappy fans---there's a lot going wrong for Neville
The Spanish club hasn't won in eight league games
since Neville took over the squad. It dropped to 12th
in the standings and is only five points above relegation
zone. The latest setback was a 1-0 home loss to
Sporting Gijon, a result that prompted loud jeers
from the supporters at the Mestalla Stadium.
Neville has kept the team alive in the Copa del
Rey, leading it to the tournament's semifinals, but
even then the luck of the draw went against Valencia,
putting it against Barcelona, Spain's hottest team.
A few reasons can help explain Neville's dismal
debut as a head coach, and they are not all his fault.
Valencia started the season well but it was already
struggling when the former Manchester United
defender replaced coach Nuno Espirito Santo. The
team was coming off three winless games when
Neville officially took over. Nearly a dozen players
were injured at the time, including Diego Alves, Javi
Fuego and Enzo Perez. Only now the squad has been
getting back to full strength. (AP)
Guardiola set to become Man City manager
the club at the end of the season.
The news was sudden but not unexpected.
Guardiola announced in December that he would
be leaving Bayern Munich at the end of this season,
after three years in charge when he enhanced his
status as soccer's most sought-after coach. Then,
last month, he said his next job would be in the
English Premier League.
City was always his most likely destination. Backed
by Abu Dhabi cash since 2008, the club has been
transformed into the most successful in England of
recent times, winning two league titles and two cup
competitions since 2011 and assembling an all-star
squad including players like Sergio Aguero, David
Silva, Yaya Toure and Kevin De Bruyne.
City has tried to play the "Barcelona way," with
an attractive passing style and attacking approach
favoured by Guardiola, and enticed two former Barca
executives---Ferran Soriano and Txiki Beguiristain---
to the board in 2012.
Guardiola was considered the missing piece, and
now City has its man.
"In recent weeks, City has commenced and finalized
contractual negotiations with Pep Guardiola to become
head coach for the 2016-17 EPL season onwards,"
City said in a short statement. "These negotiations
were a re-commencement of discussions that were
curtailed in 2012."
That was the year Guardiola quit Barcelona, after
winning 14 trophies in four years as coach, and took
a 12-month sabbatical. During his time off, he agreed
to join Bayern for the start of the 2013-14 season
and has gone on to win back-to-back German league
titles, the German Cup and both the Club World
Cup and UEFA Super Cup.
City will look to Guardiola to turn the team into
a European powerhouse, having failed to advance
beyond the last 16 of the Champions League in four
campaigns in Europe's elite competition under Roberto
Mancini and Pellegrini. City has reached the last 16
again this season, where it plays Dynamo Kiev, and
could still meet Bayern in the competition.
Guardiola won the Champions League twice with
Lionel Messi-inspired Barcelona.
Pellegrini may yet go down as City's most successful
manager---he won the Premier League and League
Cup in his first season in charge, in 2013, and is in
contention for four trophies this season. (AP)
Neville hoping for
change of luck
November 25, 2014
speaks with Bayern
Munich's coach Pep
League group E
soccer match at the
England. AP PHOTO
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