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Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has said Manchester City‘s Pep Guardiola is “one of best managers” ever but believes his former head coach Sir Alex Ferguson has had a bigger influence on English football.
Since arriving at the Etihad Stadium in 2016, Guardiola has guided City to consecutive Premier League titles and a historic domestic treble last season.
Guardiola’s team will be up against the Red Devils on Tuesday night in the first leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final clash. Ahead of the game, Solskjaer was asked whether he felt Guardiola or legendary manager Ferguson had had a bigger impact on the Premier League, per Sam France of Goal:
“I must say that he’s [Guardiola] had a big, big influence, of course. 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.”
Here is more of what Solskjaer had to say when asked to compare the two coaches:
Former England striker Gary Lineker said on Saturday that he thought Guardiola was the most influential coach ever to manage in the country but also talked up the achievements of Ferguson:
Gary Lineker @GaryLineker
Total respect for Sir Alex’s achievements, and, of course, he’s the most successful, but that’s an entirely different thing. Guardiola has changed the way we play/think about the game. From our obsession with direct play to total football…and they said it couldn’t be done. https://t.co/J857HQe5dw
It’s no surprise the current United boss has praised the talents of Ferguson, as the former Red Devils manager was key in the club becoming a Premier League juggernaut.
Under the Scot, United won the top-flight title on 13 occasions, the FA Cup five times and the UEFA Champions League twice. Over a 27-year period in charge at Old Trafford, he helped turn the club into one of the biggest in the world.
Since Ferguson’s retirement, United have been usurped by the likes of City and Liverpool; the last Premier League crown won by the Red Devils came in 2013, which was Ferguson’s final season in charge.
Solskjaer, who was a crucial part of many title-winning United teams, will be hopeful of bringing the glory days back to the club again. Getting one over City in this two-legged semi-final and moving into his first major final as manager would be a step in the right direction.