Football News

Guardiola’s European failure is because he “doesn’t care” about opponents, says Van Gaal

By Ollie Thomas

Published: 16:01, 2 August 2019

Former Man Utd manager Louis van Gaal believes the reason Pep Guardiola hasn’t won the Champions League with Man City is that he “doesn’t care” enough about his opponents. 

Despite massive domestic success, Guardiola has not progressed past the quarter-finals of the Champions League with City. In a revealing interview, Van Gaal revealed why he thinks this is.

Guardiola’s European failure: Five things to know…

  • Guardiola won the Champions League twice with Barcelona.
  • However, he hasn’t reached the final since 2011.
  • He got as far as the semi-finals in every season with Bayern.
  • It is the only top tier competition he hasn’t won with Man City.
  • The Citizens were knocked out by Spurs in dramatic fashion last season.

Speaking to France Football, Van Gaal said: “Winning the English League for the second time in a row is fantastic. Guardiola has won all that can be won in England, but the big level is Champions (League).

“And that he could not win with either City or Bayern, this is the consequence of being overly concerned about your team’s game and not caring about your opponent’s game.

“You must always respect your opponent. Guardiola and [Erik] ten Hag have high-quality teams for their national rivals. But that doesn’t apply to Champions.”

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Could this year belong to City?

Man City and Guardiola will have been bitterly disappointed at the manner in which they were dumped out of the Champions League last season. A last gasp winner from Raheem Sterling was disallowed as City were left to rue conceding three soft goals to Spurs at the Etihad.

The season before, they were blown away by European specialists Liverpool at Anfield before Klopp and his men turned City over in Manchester, too. However, City’s squad is now much stronger.

If they can keep hold of Leroy Sane, City will go into the new season with phenomenal depth in each position: it is probable that the likes of Fernandinho, Riyad Mahrez, Gabriel Jesus and David Silva will spend spells of next season on the bench following the arrival of Rodri and the outstanding performances of Bernardo Silva last campaign.

On paper, City will be one of the favourites. Whether they can put that into practice is a different matter.