Sir Alex Ferguson talks importance of background in new film
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Former Manchester United defender Gary Neville has sensationally overlooked his old boss Sir Alex Ferguson by naming Manchester City’s Pep Guardiola as the greatest manager of all time. The Spaniard has enjoyed considerable success in English football since replacing Manuel Pellegrini back in 2016, leading City to a pair of domestic titles, four Carabao Cup wins and one FA Cup triumph.
He masterminded yet another successful final on Sunday, with the runaway Premier League leaders leaving it late to down Spurs with a single goal, courtesy of Aymeric Laporte who headed home with eight minutes remaining.
The result saw Guardiola clinch his 30th major trophy since making the step into management with Barcelona B back in 2007.
The Catalonia native is likely to add to his tally within the next few weeks, with City set to pip Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and United to this year’s Premier League crown.
Neville reacted to the 50-year-old’s latest triumph by suggesting that he is quite possibly the finest head coach to ever grace the professional game, ahead of United legend Ferguson who won 38 trophies during a 26-year spell at Old Trafford.
The Sky Sports pundit told The Gary Neville Podcast that Guardiola’s influence on English football has been unprecedented and sets him apart from the rest, as does his proven track record of succeeding elsewhere in Europe.
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“You just have to recognise Man City’s outstanding football, the outstanding achievement of winning this trophy four times on the bounce,” said Neville.
“Pep Guardiola has an outstanding record in cup competitions. It’s 14 victories and one defeat in 15 finals, it’s absolutely out of this world. The football they play is magnificent, it really is.
“I think Man City may have the greatest manager of all time and we’ll look back in 10, 15, 20 years’ time, just the way he has infiltrated countries, dominated football but also influenced others, I don’t think I’ve ever seen it.
“You look at how he’s won in three different countries, he’s now dominating in this country.
“He’s going to win the league title in the next few weeks, that’s three in five years and these are massive achievements, playing the way they play as well, which is with technical players, dominating possession.
“The big one is the Champions League and it’s a huge couple of weeks coming up against PSG, because if they were to win that then they would have a great chance [of winning the competition].
“That would be the cherry on the icing on the top of the cake of Guardiola’s reign at Man City, because I don’t think he can leave without winning it.”
Neville’s verdict contradicts that of current United boss Solskjaer, who has highlighted his belief that Ferguson is the rightful king of management on a number of previous occasions.
The Norwegian stressed back in January that his former boss remains the benchmark, suggesting that while the achievements of Guardiola cannot be understated, Ferguson’s impressive haul of silverware puts him at the forefront of the all-time conversation.
“I must say he [Guardiola] has had a big, big influence, and since he took over at Barcelona I have admired Pep’s teams, but I have got to say I worked under the most influential one,” Solskjaer told reporters.
“You do see one of the best managers ever [in Guardiola] and you can see where he has taken his wisdom from.
“I had the pleasure of speaking and meeting Johan [Cruyff] back in the day when [his brother] Jordi was here and you can see certain similarities.
“I’ve admired Pep’s team. They have raised the bar so much since Pep came, the standards he has set and his team have set is something for us to aim for.”
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