Belfast Telegraph

Manchester City fans excited by the prospect of Pep Guardiola

Manchester City fans can see a period of domestic domination and a place among the elite of European football ahead following the announcement that Pep Guardiola is to be their new boss.

An appointment that had long been anticipated was finally confirmed on transfer deadline day as City announced Guardiola had signed a three-year contract with them and will replace Manuel Pellegrini at the end of this season.

Kevin Parker, general secretary of Manchester City FC Supporters Club, told Press Association Sport: "It's positive that all the uncertainty has disappeared.

"There has been a little unease recently among some fans about Pellegrini and the talk of Guardiola coming.

"But that has been completely dispelled, and there will be lots of support between now and the end of the season for Pellegrini and the team.

"Everyone I have spoken to is very, very upbeat about the situation."

Barcelona claimed 14 trophies - including winning the Champions League twice - in four seasons under Guardiola, who has subsequently guided his current club Bayern Munich to two Bundesliga titles.

The 45-year-old Spaniard is widely seen as the world's leading coach.

And regarding how City might fare with him in charge, Parker said: "We have the best squad in the Premier League, but there is no doubt it will improve under Guardiola.

"There is a pot of money, and if we chase the world's best players, it will now be easier to persuade them to come.

"I don't think we're a million miles from where we want to be (domestically) and hopefully he will bring a higher level of consistency.

"There could be a period of domination because looking at the other big clubs right now and adding it all together, there is a possibility City can absolutely steal a march on the other Premier League teams.

"But the big thing from the club's and fans' point of view is challenging in Europe, and we will also be looking for Guardiola to take us to the next level there.

"It's tough coming up against the likes of Bayern Munich, Real Madrid and Barcelona, but the aim is for us to be challenging to be among that top group of clubs in Europe.

"There is still a way to go between us and those clubs, and it will be difficult for Guardiola to bridge that gap straight away.

"But over two seasons, three seasons you'd imagine he definitely has that in him."

City won the Barclays Premier League and Capital One Cup in Pellegrini's first season in charge in 2013-14, and after a trophyless 2014-15, they remain in the hunt for four pieces of silverware this term.

Following the Chilean's announcement on Monday that he is stepping aside in the summer, talk of him taking over at another top-flight English club has started to grow.

And Parker said: "He has been an absolute gentleman and dealing with this situation the way he has is a credit to him.

"I wish him all the future success in the world, including if he goes to another Premier League club - unless, of course, he went to Manchester United!

"The only success I wouldn't wish him is any at the expense of Manchester City.

"He is well loved by City fans. There is an air of sadness about the fact we are losing him.

"But if the best players in the world are available, you want your club to try to sign them, and if the best coach in the world is available, you want him. That is the reality of football."


From Belfast Telegraph