Full transcript: Nev crowns Pep one of four best PL bosses

Gary Neville believes Pep Guardiola is one of the four greatest managers of the Premier League era.

Guardiola became only the seventh post-war manager to win consecutive English top-flight titles when Manchester City completed the successful defence of their crown on Sunday.

Their 4-1 win over Brighton propelled them to a ridiculous 98 points, holding off the 97-point challenge of a Liverpool team Neville was quick to pay tribute to.

But the Sky Sports pundit also praised Guardiola for his achievements, ranking him among the greats.

“Sir Alex, you know, at Manchester United we had one of the most incredible people in charge of the football club and he instilled a mentality into a group of players that meant that they never felt they like they succeeded, that when they won one league they continued to come back the next season and perform at exactly the same level, giving the same levels of focus and concentration every single day, never believing they’ve made it.

“I think what Pep Guardiola did at the start of the season – Vincent Kompany alluded to a meeting that he had where he said that Pep Guardiola demanded of them what was going to happen this year. And the players have sort of lifted their game.

“Everybody’s tried to beat City this season more than ever. Liverpool have done incredibly well to get where they’ve got, anywhere near them, and it’s a mentality thing. The coach, Pep Guardiola, you could argue is the greatest coach we’ve ever seen with what he’s done in Spain, what he’s done in Germany and now in England.

“The way in which he coaches his teams to play, his values, his principles of play are well set, he’s got control. I think that’s really important, when you’re at a football club, particularly today more than ever, he’s got control and you’re in no doubt who the leader is. None of the players are bigger than him, he’ll leave all those players out if they fell below the standards.

“He wants to win. He’s desperate to win. I think that’s important. But most of all he impacts the mentality of the players. I think that’s the most important thing.

“The great managers are psychologists, they get into the head of the players, they can sort of make them believe they can achieve anything and do anything, and what we’ve seen with Pep Guardiola shows he’s capable of doing that in different countries, he’s capable of doing that in different leagues with different players.

“I played under Sir Alex Ferguson and Sir Alex Ferguson wasn’t a coach on the training pitch. Sir Alex Ferguson was somebody who managed the football club but managed players and worked on players and demanded the highest standards.

“With Pep Guardiola, I always remember that Monday Night Football at the end of last season where he said he was desperate to win back-to-back titles. He put that very much at the top of his list ahead of the Champions League, and he said ‘I’ll become less popular with my team from the start of next season with what I’m going to demand from them’.

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“You could see that, maybe at times this season, he’s not let off them. But what they’ve done these last two or three months I’ve never seen before. I thought that one of the two teams would wilt, would show signs of vulnerability, but they haven’t done. I’ve never seen a title race like it.

“Pep Guardiola has come to England. There are people who will question the fact Manchester City have fallen short in the Champions League, but I think what he’s achieved yesterday – and obviously he has a chance next week to win a domestic treble – I think puts him up there with the great managers.

“You think of Arsene Wenger, Jose Mourinho, Sir Alex Ferguson, and now Pep Guardiola, really are the great managers of the Premier League era.

“I don’t know how long he’s going to stay in England – I’m sure the other clubs will be hoping he leaves quite quickly – but if he stays for another two or three years then he could go on and win another two or three championships easily.”


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