The Manchester City manager’s former assistant says he has been the victim of “bad luck” in Europe since leaving Barcelona
Domenec Torrent has defended Pep Guardiola’s Champions League record, while describing him as a “genius” in the same mould as classical music pioneer Wolfgang Mozart.
Guardiola quickly established himself as one of the best coaches in world football after beginning his career at Barcelona in 2008, leading them to three La Liga titles and two Champions League crowns in the space of four seasons.
The Catalan has since enjoyed similar success in the Bundesliga and Premier League with Bayern Munich and Manchester City, but has faced criticism for failing to add to his haul of European Cups.
What’s been said?
Guardiola’s tactics were called into question once again after City’s shock quarter-final defeat to Lyon last season, but Torrent, who previously worked as the 50-year-old’s assistant at the Etihad Stadium, says he has just been the victim of misfortune in the Champions League.
“It was bad luck. Raheem Sterling missed the open goal from a few metres out,” Torrent told Goal.
“Is that the manager’s fault? No. Pep makes mistakes, too, but he is a genius. And it’s human nature that people want to see how a genius fails.
“It was the same with musicians like Mozart. People were happy to criticise him when he made a mistake because he seldom made any of them. It’s similar to Pep.”
Torrent also served as Guardiola’s number two at Barca and Bayern, and admits that they both struggled to deal with their failure to deliver European success at Allianz Arena.
“It was really hard. There are small details which decide things in the Champions League. It shows you how unfair football can be sometimes,” he added.
“It’s not the team which has worked the hardest, or which plays the best football that will win, but the team which is there at the right moments.
“An injury, a stupid goal against you, a missed penalty, an unlucky decision by the referee – everything can kill you. Often, a bad 15-minute spell is enough to go out.”
Could 2020-21 be City’s season in the Champions League?
Guardiola was unable to take City beyond the quarter-finals of Europe’s elite competition in his first four years in Manchester, but has finally gotten over that hill in 2020-21.
The Premier League leaders saw off Borussia Monchengladbach and Borussia Dortmund to reach the last four, where they will face off against last season’s runners-up Paris Saint-Germain.
Should Guardiola’s men get the better of PSG, they will be rewarded with a final date against either Chelsea or Real Madrid, who played out a 1-1 draw in Spain in the first leg of their semi-final tie on Tuesday.