Ajax coach Erik Ten Hag reveals Pep Guardiola mistake at Man City

Ajax trainer / coach Erik ten Hag during the Dutch Eredivisie match between sc Heerenveen and Ajax Amsterdam at Abe Lenstra Stadium on March 07, 2020 in Heerenveen, The Netherlands.

Ajax boss Erik Ten Hag has identified the one mistake Pep Guardiola has made at Manchester City.

The Spanish boss has guided the blue side of Manchester to two Premier League titles, an FA Cup and three Carabao Cups.

But they have been off the pace this year, sitting 25 points behind Liverpool in the league.

And they are set to be kicked out of the Champions League after breaking financial fair play regulations.

Ajax’s boss, though, who worked with Guardiola at Bayern Munich, suggested the 49-year-old made a mistake in the early days at the Etihad Stadium.

Speaking to Voetbal International, Ten Hag said: “Only once in his career has Pep made a mistake – in his first year at ¬Manchester City when he completely ¬underestimated the power and speed of the Premier League.

"He realised that you can't play the kind of football he loves without ¬having a couple of physically strong athletes – and so he brought them in. So he's not a stubborn coach.

"Yes, he is stubborn in his ¬philosophy, but not in the ¬execution. And that makes him the best.

"Nobody will ever forget ¬Guardiola. He has won so many trophies for a start – but it is mainly about how his teams play.

"Guardiola only wants to win games with beautiful football, just like his teacher Johan Cruyff.

"And what makes him stand out is that he is proving his quality as a top coach in Spain, Germany and now England.

"He has adapted to the culture in every country."

Ten Hag went on to suggest why there was not immediate success for City after the former Barcelona man’s arrival.

"Guardiola had great players at Barcelona, like Andreas Iniesta, Lionel Messi, Xavi and others," the Ajax boss added.

"But it takes a lot of quality from a coach to make top players play in a great way as a team.

"You have to convince them that they each have a role in that team. 

Guardiola is a master of that. Some top players cannot play in his teams – like Zlatan ¬Ibrahimovic.

"Everyone has to contribute. The team comes first and not the individual. Even Messi was more of a team player under Guardiola. 

He has never been as brilliant again as he was under Pep.

"Now, Messi is above the team – and everyone has to work for him. And we see that Barca have not won as much in recent years as they did under Guardiola."
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