Pep Guardiola believes that in order for Manchester United to succeed again, Erik ten Hag must be left alone. The Manchester City manager has cautioned his rivals across town that the Blues are here to stay. Under Sir Alex Ferguson, City was forced to watch as United dominated the Premier League and triumphed in Europe for decades. However, since City acquired the team in 2008 and Ferguson retired in 2013, the Blues have dominated English football. Last season, they won their first Champions League trophy, matching United’s historic 1999 treble.
“We had 10 or 11 players over 30 so we had to bring energy and quality and invested, like all the teams invest. They supported me and this is the same. Give time to the managers and they will do it.”
Guardiola feels that even if United returned to the top table, they wouldn’t dominate like they did under Ferguson, but suggested their best chance will be to get their organisation right off the field to spark a resurgence on it.
“Maybe not [dominate in future] in the way that Sir Alex Ferguson controlled in there because then there were two or three teams and now there are more, with a lot of incredible managers,” he said. “Maybe not in that way, but if they take good decisions with the hierarchy, the sporting director, the managers and players in the same ideas, come on.
Manchester United are still on highlights all day. That is the reputation and prestige they have. They just need to click the right decisions and they will be there.”
While Guardiola was offering some friendly advice to United, he also insisted City have no intention of stepping aside and allowing their rivals to win titles ahead of them.
When it was put to him that Sir Alex Ferguson once said City would never be United’s rivals, Guardiola agreed. “He was right. City did not challenge them, we were in the middle,” he said. “But after that, without the presence of Sheikh Mansour, Khaldoon [Al Mubarak] and the takeover to make investment when United and Arsenal were the richest ones, Sir Alex Ferguson could not expect what would happen. I couldn’t in Barcelona. Now we want to stay as long as possible.
Maybe it is uncomfortable because we weren’t in the elite and now we are so maybe many things are uncomfortable but we are there and we want to be there in the future.
“I don’t know United because I’m not there but the way we played is there, not just the results. Imagine from now on winning five of the six Premier Leagues. Chapeau for the whole organisation and we will try to do it again and again.
“What we have done is so difficult and maintaining it is even more difficult but you can drop like that into the middle of the table when you believe you are something you are not. What we have done is clear.”