Liverpool legend takes aim at Guardiola: 'There's no genius there'

Liverpool great Graeme Souness is not convinced Pep Guardiola is a ‘genius’ suggesting that the Manchester City coach has benefitted from the cheque book and a superior squad of players wherever he’s managed. 

Guardiola began his coaching career with Barcelona’s B team before moving into the first-team job when Champions League-winning manager Frank Rijkaard stepped aside in 2008. 

Already on the books were legendary academy graduates Lionel Messi, Carles Puyol, Xavi and Andres Iniesta, as well as superstar signings like Yaya Toure, Thierry Henry and Samuel Eto’o. 

That crop of players went on to help Guardiola achieve a La Liga, Champions League and Copa del Rey treble in 2009 and most were still on the scene when Barca won the league and Champions League again under Pep in 2011. 

After a sabbatical, undertaken when Jose Mourinho's Real Madrid won the league with a record points total, Guardiola coached Bayern Munich from 2013 to 2016, winning three Bundesliga titles in a row but failing to win the Champions League. 

He then pitched up at Manchester City, a team now facing 115 charges for alleged financial wrongdoing, where he has won five of the last six Premier League titles and looks like a good bet for a sixth in seven years. He also completed the club’s first-ever treble last season. 

However, former Reds captain and manager Graeme Souness doesn’t necessarily believe those achievements are indicative solely on the Spaniard’s abilities as a manager. Instead he points to the successful recruitment undertaken at each of Pep’s clubs. 

Recruitment key to Pep's success says Souness

“Recruitment is the single biggest thing you have to get right at a football club,” the former Liverpool midfielder told the Three Up Front podcast

“The best manager in the world, with an average group of players, he doesn't win anything. 

“If you've got great players with an average manager, you've got a chance of winning stuff. The likelihood is you will win stuff.

“Pep Guardiola, whatever league he's been in, he's had the best group of players. He took over from Frank Rijkaard at Barcelona, where he had Messi at 20 or 19. 

Scotland v England - 150th Anniversary Heritage Match Graeme Souness TV Pundit working for Channel 4 before the 150th Anniversary Heritage Match between Scotland and England at Hampden Park on September 12, 2023 in Glasgow Scotland. Glasgow Hampden Park Glasgow Scotland PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxUK Copyright: xGreigxCowie/Sportsphoto/APLx 13954621

“Then he goes to Bayern Munich, and he takes over from Jupp Heynckes, [who won] four trophies, every trophy including the European Cup. 

“Then he comes to City, the richest, and a team that just needed the slightest bit of tweaking. 

“And yes, he obviously manages players very well. But for me there's no genius there.”

Share This Article