Pep Guardiola is one of the greatest ever coaches but did not “do his homework” on English football, according to former Chelsea manager Avram Grant.
Guardiola is set to end his first season at Manchester City without a trophy, the first time he has failed to collect silverware in a campaign, with City in Premier League action against rivals Manchester United on Thursday.
The Catalan, who has won six league titles and captured the Champions League twice, was hailed by Grant despite his City side sitting 14 points behind league leaders Chelsea.
“I think he’s one of the greatest coaches in history,” Grant told Omnisport. “He’s one of the best, one of the top, no doubt about this. What he did in Barcelona, even the football that he played in Bayern Munich was amazing.
“But I think Pep didn’t do his homework when he came to English football. English football is totally different. Even though there are a lot of foreigners, still there are things that are typical for English football. Because when they play good, they are playing excellent, excellent. But still, they are not hard to beat on the defensive side.
“He plays exactly like he played in Barcelona, but not with the same personalities and not in the same league. But I’m sure he is a smart guy. He will learn from this and he will do differently next season. But this season, it was a good education for him.”
Thursday’s derby has been billed as a battle between Guardiola and his United counterpart Jose Mourinho, who Grant believes thrives when he is the underdog rather than the favourite.
“I think he’s a great manager, a great coach,” Grant said of Mourinho. “He has a lot of qualities, a very nice man, even though people don’t think like this.
“When you sit with him, he’s one of the funniest guys, friendly guys you’ve ever met. But I think, like everybody, you need to look in the mirror and say ‘what can I improve?’
“He did well when he was the underdog. He won titles when he was an underdog at Chelsea when he was an underdog at Inter Milan. Then, the season after, when he became not an underdog, he became a bit nervous and results went down. That’s what I think happened at Real Madrid and that’s what happened in almost any club he was [at].
“But he’s still a good manager. As I say to myself, and I say to my son also, look in the mirror at what you can improve. But he’s still good, one of the best.
“For United to be fifth place, or fourth place, or even third place, it’s not usual. United are looking to win titles. That’s what it was before Alex Ferguson, even though they didn’t win for 20 years, and that’s how it stays after. That’s what a big club is about.
“United need to fight for titles and if they are not fighting for titles, they are not doing a good job. Can Mourinho do it? Yes, he can do it. Can do it in this way? I don’t think so.”
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