Mens Team

Francis Lee: 'Guardiola the best coach I've ever seen'

Francis Lee: 'Guardiola the best coach I've ever seen'
Francis Lee has paid Pep Guardiola the ultimate compliment by describing the City manager as ‘the best coach he has ever seen.’

Lee – an iconic City strike legend from our golden period spanning the late 1960s and early 1970s – has, like countless others, watched in awe at the compelling style of play engineered by Guardiola in his three and a half years in charge at the Club.

Alongside the bonanza of silverware overseen by the visionary Catalan, Lee also believes that Guardiola has also had a trans-formative effect on the way that the game as a whole is now seen and played in this country.

“I think that Pep is definitely the best coach I have ever seen,” opined Francis who also served as Club chairman between 1994 and 1998.

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“I rate the team so highly and I do think that Pep has transformed the game.

“Pep has thought it through and has really engaged the players.

“For example, if you look at the performances we produced at Old Trafford in the Carabao Cup and at Aston Villa in the league earlier this year, I think it showed this team is playing as well as any team we’ve ever seen in the UK

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“He has also got an amazing talent of 1: analysing the opposition and 2: the way he trains and keeps his players fit and competitive for places.

“The manager has 22 top quality players fighting for 11 places and it’s a happy squad.

“That’s not an easy thing to be able to balance but he has done it.

“They are just a joy to watch and long may it continue.”

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Lee – who was a mainstay of the all-conquering City squad which won the league, FA Cup, League Cup and European Cup Winners between 1968 and 1970 - was also effusive about the way Guardiola’s philosophy of possession-based, attacking football had filtered throughout the English game.

Not least in the way that many more teams are now engaged with playing out from the back with the accent on technical skill and a willingness to be brave at all times.

“He has thought it through and has also really engaged the players,” continued Lee, who claimed almost 150 goals across the course of his glittering City career.

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“After all, who would have thought two or three years ago that if the goalkeeper didn’t pass the ball out it then was a bad idea?

“You look at Ederson and he has been like a building brick… his passing is so accurate that he could be a defensive midfielder!

“The way Pep has changed is that he has opened it up. He wants to play from the back to give more space around the rest of the pitch.

“The great thing is if you get people copying what you are doing, then you must be doing something right.

“Creatively we are something else, but City also defend with skill and intelligence. For instance, Fernandinho is a tough character who can dig in when he needs to.

“They are just a joy to watch and long may it continue.”

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