Premier League English

‘You want to sack me?’ – Guardiola plays down talk of Roberto De Zerbi succeeding him at Man City

Football manager extraordinare Pep Guardiola has flatly dismissed talk that he had suggested that Roberto De Zerbi could succeed him as Manchester City boss. However he stuck to his guns that the Italian has all it takes to coach a top club.

The City boss has long been an admirer of De Zerbi, comparing the Brighton coach to a Michelin-starred restaurant. Apparently last May he was reported to have suggested that the Italian was going to be the next City coach. Nonetheless, Guardiola was caught off-guard when athe question was put to him if De Zerbi replace him at the Etihad ahead of Saturday’s meeting with the Seagulls. The multi-awards-winning manager insisted that the Italian would be suited for working at any of Europe’s most demanding clubs.

“You want to sack me? I don’t remember that, maybe I have bad memory. I’m sure Roberto can train in any team,” Guardiola told a press conference. “I don’t have any doubt. He can train Brighton and all the teams around the world. They are top, I was appointed as Barcelona’s first team coach from the fourth division with no experience. Doesn’t mean you have to be at top clubs to be manager of top clubs. The sporting director has an idea, hires a manager with the idea, hires players with the idea. If it’s not the same position now you are in trouble. City have done it, Liverpool with Jurgen [Klopp], winning titles. You can lose but always you are stable. This is the advice I give to the club.”

Guardiola’s contract with Man City runs out in 2025 and the belief is that he will leave the club when this latest deal expires. He insisted however that he said he would not have any say in who his eventual successor would be.

“None of my business. If the chairman asks my opinion I will give it,” he added. “I’m not sporting director. Not my responsibility to say right or wrong. I have friends here. If they ask a question. I don’t know how many years for this idea the way we play. Continue with the idea. The players we want, I say keep going with that. I don’t take the decisions.”