Man City boss Pep Guardiola reveals change of plan to ‘retire older’

The Spaniard will turn 50 this month and has a contract until 2023

Andy Hampson
Sunday 03 January 2021 10:18 GMT
Sergio Aguero
Sergio Aguero (POOL/AFP)
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Louise Thomas

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Pep Guardiola has revealed he could work longer than initially anticipated after admitting “experience” has helped him.

The Manchester City boss has previously spoken about a short time in football management with interests away from the game.

But the Spaniard has extended his contract at the Etihad Stadium until 2023, which would take his Premier League stay to seven years and now the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager insists retirement is at the back of his mind.

"Experience helps you, especially the way I live my profession," said the Spaniard, who has won 29 major trophies in a glittering managerial career.

"Before, I thought I was going to retire soon. Now I'm thinking I'm going to retire older. So, I don't know." Guardiola is now into his fifth season at City, making it his longest tenure in management after three years at Barca and four with Bayern.

His eight trophies with the club include two Premier League wins and they are bidding to haul themselves into another title race after a slow start to the current campaign.

READ MORE: Premier League fixtures and table - all matches by date and kick-off time

For Manchester City it might be rather straight-forward: who is available to Pep Guardiola? City face being without five players after positive coronavirus tests, but the manager still feels there’s enough talent to compete with the home side in what could be a crucial clash for the title hopes of each team.

City are unbeaten in their last six Premier League games ahead of Sunday's trip to Chelsea. With the top end of the table tightly packed, Guardiola sees this year's race being the most wide open of his time in England.

Guardiola said: "If you think about what (can) happen in January, February - the two games (in hand), we can lose these two games and anything can happen. "So, in the Premier League, every game is so tough and it is better to be calm.

The real Premier League, the people I spoke to before I landed here, said everyone can lose to everyone. I didn't see this until now. "Now is the first time when I see in the Premier League, one team is able to lose or win seven, and after draw, and after lose. The results are unpredictable."

Among the challengers this season are arch-rivals Manchester United, who City face in the Carabao Cup semi-finals next week.

Guardiola has revealed change of plan to ‘retire older’
Guardiola has revealed change of plan to ‘retire older’ (POOL/AFP)

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side have been rejuvenated in recent weeks, shrugging off the disappointment of a Champions League exit to hit form on the domestic front. "Ole is happier than me," said Guardiola, whose preparations have been hit by five positive tests for Covid-19 among his players over the Christmas period.

"But I am not much concerned about United. I am so busy with what we have to do and what we can do with the players and the exceptional people we have in the backroom staff to move forward.

"They are there because they deserve it. Since I arrived I expected them to be there all the time. Sometimes in the last season it has not been possible, especially in the Premier League, but it is there."

City will be without the five players to have tested positive - who are now all isolating - at Stamford Bridge.

Two of them are known in Kyle Walker and Gabriel Jesus but the other three - whose test results forced the postponement of Monday's game at Everton - are yet to be named.

This weekend get a £10 free bet with Betfair, when you bet £10 on a Same Game Multi on the Premier League. Terms: Min £10 Same Game Multi bet on any EPL match this Fri - Sun. Free bet valid for 72 hours, awarded at bet settlement. Excludes cashed out bets. T&Cs apply.

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