Football News

Thomas Frank: “Innovative” Pep Guardiola the best manager of the modern era

By Harry Edwards

Published: 18:37, 27 December 2021

Brentford boss Thomas Frank has named his Manchester City counterpart Pep Guardiola as the best football manager of the modern era.

When discussing the greatest manager of all time, the likes of Bill Shankly, Brian Clough, Arrigo Sacchi, Sir Alex Ferguson and so many more are mentioned. But of course there is also focus on some of the current star bosses such as Jose Mourinho and Guardiola.

Guardiola made a name for himself at boyhood club Barcelona, first taking charge of the B side before moving into the Nou Camp dugout and bringing out Barca’s rebirth. During his four-year spell as Barcelona manager, Guardiola led the Blaugrana to two Champions Leagues, three La Liga titles, two Copas del Rey, three Spanish Super Cups, two UEFA Super Cups and two Club World Cups.

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He had similar success in his three-year stay at Bayern Munich, at least on a domestic level, winning a hat-trick of Bundesliga titles, two DFB-Pokals, a UEFA Super Cup and a Club World Cup – though the Champions League eluded him. More continental domination as followed at Manchester City, with three Premier League titles, four League Cups, one FA Cup and two Community Shields.

But Guardiola isn’t hailed just for his title wins. The Catalan boss shook football to its core at Barcelona with his tiki taka style of play that he has carried, while also slightly altering, at each of his clubs. And Frank, whose Brentford side face Man City in the Premier League this week, believes Guardiola is unrivalled in the modern era.

“We’re playing against the team in the division with potentially the biggest budget, definitely one of them, and I think the greatest manager of the modern era,” Frank told reporters.

“Definitely unbelievable players and a very good, specific style of play that makes it quite difficult for a team like us to try to get something out of it because they are so good at keeping the ball.

“They almost never risk it – of course you can do a little bit of a counter – so it’s going to be very difficult.

“(Guardiola’s) a very innovative coach, always tweaking the positions. The way they build up from behind and the way they keep the ball and the breakthroughs, it’s something I’ve been studying for years.

“It’s difficult to copy, you need decent players, but it’s nice to get inspiration from that.”

Since Guardiola took charge of Man City ahead of the 2016/17 Premier League season, the Citizens have won 155 league games, more than any other club in Europe’s top five leagues. With a win percentage of 74.16% during that time, only PSG (74.24%) and Bayern Munich (74.87%) have won more of their matches than Man City – though both sides have had multiple managers during that time.