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Pep Guardiola vows to learn from English lesson

Pep Guardiola faces a challenge to claim second place, or he will forfeit his record of never having finished outside the first two as a manager.

By: AFP | Manchester | Updated: April 8, 2017 4:31:56 pm
Pep Guardiola, Guardiola, Manchester City, Manchester City Pep Guardiola, Premier League, Football news, Football, Sports news, Sports, Indian Express Pep Guardiola debut season in the Premier League has hardly gone to plan.

Pep Guardiola has vowed to bounce back from his worst campaign in management after admitting he was taught a lesson in his first season with Manchester City.

Guardiola was head-hunted by City’s wealthy Abu Dhabi owners following brilliant spells with Barcelona, where he won the Champions League twice, and Bayern Munich, where he completed a hat-trick of Bundesliga title wins.

However, his debut season in the Premier League has hardly gone to plan.

Wednesday’s 2-1 defeat at leaders Chelsea extinguished any hope of a late title challenge, as well as bringing Guardiola a sixth league defeat in one season for the first time.

The Spaniard now faces a challenge to claim second place ahead of Tottenham and Liverpool, or he will forfeit his record of never having finished outside the first two as a manager.

Guardiola must also lift the FA Cup if he is not to complete a campaign empty-handed for the first time.

All this in a season that saw Guardiola’s team exit the Champions League at the hands of Monaco before the quarter-finals, another new low for the City boss, particularly in the competition that has become the Holy Grail for City’s ambitious owners.

“I will be better, definitely. This season was a lesson for me,” said Guardiola, whose side meet struggling Hull at Eastlands on Saturday.

“It’s normal when you have seven, eight or nine years as a manager to have a season where you don’t have as much success as before. It can happen. You learn from that, you don’t regret that.

“I never could imagine in Barcelona, Bayern or when I arrived here knowing absolutely everything. I tried to adapt the players as much as possible. I did it and I think we will be better. It’s a more interesting year for me as a manager to grow and handle this kind of situation.”

“I didn’t complain, I didn’t give up. We have a lot of beautiful things left to fight for this season.”

City are fourth in the table, four points ahead of Arsenal and Manchester United, who both have a game in hand, but crucially seven points adrift of Tottenham in second place, which is Guardiola’s target.

They will meet Arsenal in the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley on April 23.

Guardiola, who acknowledges that rejuvenated Hull are formidable rivals as City bid to end a run of four League games without a victory, admitted he knew as long ago as August that he had problems.

“I knew in the first Champions League game against Steaua Bucharest when we won 6-0. Normally, that game would be 12-0. We missed two penalties and so many chances,” he said.

“I was happy because the first target was to qualify, but after that, and the Everton and Middlesbrough games (both 1-1at home), I realised we had to play really, really well to win the games.”

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