Mens Team

Guardiola praises key impact of Juanma Lillo

Pep Guardiola says the role and 'special sense' of assistant coach Juanma Lillo has been a crucial factor in City’s rise to the top of the Premier League table.

The highly regarded Spaniard joined City last June having accumulated a vast amount of managerial and coaching experience.

He also managed City boss Guardiola towards the latter end of Pep’s playing career, during their shared time in Mexico at Dorados de Sinaloa.

Since taking up his role at City, Lillo has become a crucial component in the manager’s coaching set-up, working closely alongside fellow assistant coach Rodolfo Borrell.


And, asked at his pre-match press conference ahead of Saturday’s latest Premier League game at home to Sheffield United, about the impact and influence of Lillo in his time at City so far, the boss was effusive in his praise for Juanma’s impact.

“Without him being where we are in the table would have been impossible,” Guardiola declared.

“He sees things that I am not able to see. He has a special sense.

“Especially in the bad moments. He makes me feel calm and makes me see the real situation of the team apart from the result.

“He always has the vision to see what I cannot see. His help in this period, with Rodolfo, has been so important in this period.

“I have Rodolfo who has been with us a long time, who helps me a lot, all the time but especially this season because Juanma doesn’t speak English so well yet.


“In some defensive issues he helped us in the beginning. He talks especially with the Latin players.

“He is important to me.”

The boss also expanded on what he felt were the key factors behind our magnificent run of form which has seen us win 11 games in a row in all competitions and go unbeaten in 18 sine early November.

Guardiola said that he believed a number of key factors had aligned to help engineer and inspire that superb record.

“I didn't like the way we were playing. In previous seasons the wingers were wider and higher so we came back to our principles,” the boss revealed.

“For many reasons, we had to adapt to the quality we had and the players we had in that moment. That is the reason I tried to find the way.

“In the end, I felt having the wingers wide and high helped us to be more stable and the quality of the players do the rest. When we have the ball, we run less.

“Managers, when things don’t go well, have the feeling we don’t fight or have the spirit.

“The reason why we didn’t play well was because when we had the ball we ran too much. When we have the ball, we need to walk.

“When we don’t have the ball you have to run with your life. Now I think we are calmer.”