The Manchester United manager has spoken warmly of his City counterpart, but his former Old Trafford mentor is untouchable in his eyes
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says Pep Guardiola isn’t the most influential manager the Premier League has seen – because that title belongs to Sir Alex Ferguson.
Former England striker Gary Lineker said on Twitter over the weekend that he felt Guardiola had had a more positive influence on the English game than any other manager, leading to a debate on the merits of various bosses.
Guardiola himself would likely point to Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa, who he has described as ‘the best coach in the world’ – but Solskjaer is firmly in the camp of his old United mentor.
“I must say that he’s had a big, big influence, of course,” Solskjaer said of Guardiola.
“Since he took over at Barcelona, I’ve admired Pep’s teams but I’ve got to say that I’ve worked under the most influential one.
“You do see [Guardiola as] one of the best managers ever and you can see where he’s taken his wisdom from as well.
“I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and speaking to Johan [Cruyff] back in the day when Jordi was here – we’re friends – and you can see similarities.
“It’s a different era and a different time [to Ferguson’s era]. When the [Man City] owners came in, you knew they were going to go for it. We are still, in our own heads, one of the biggest clubs in the world, but we know that’s going to take time.
“I admire Pep’s team. They’ve raised the bar so much, it’s something to aim for.”
Guardiola’s impact on the game, from his passing philosophy at Barcelona to his contribution to modern pressing tactics, is well documented.
He built on the principles instilled into him by Cruyff when he played under the legendary Dutchman at Barca – and Arsenal fans are now hoping Mikel Arteta has taken such principles with him to north London.
With his trophy cabinet now boasting eight league titles in three countries, plus two Champions League trophies among other honours, the Catalan is one of the most revered figures in the game.
In terms of sheer numbers, he is still some way off matching Ferguson’s haul of 13 Premier League titles achieved over an incomparable 27-year spell at Old Trafford.
His protégé is now looking to make it back-to-back wins over Guardiola, as City travel to United in the first leg of the Carabao Cup semi-final following United’s 2-1 Premier League win earlier in the season.
Ahead of the game, Guardiola has said he would rather play golf or move to the Maldives than manage United.