Guardiola surprised by ‘more difficult’ Premier League – Eriksson

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Former Manchester City manager Sven-Goran Eriksson believes the
competitiveness of the Premier League may have come as a
surprise to Pep Guardiola.

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It has been something of a culture shock for Guardiola
since arriving to the physicality and wide-open nature of
England, where City are 10 points adrift of leaders Chelsea, as
the two-time Champions League-winning manager remains defiant
in his tactics.

Guardiola – whose City were bundled out of the Champions League
by Monaco in the last 16 – won the Bundesliga in each of his
three seasons at Bayern Munich and only lost out to Real Madrid
in La Liga in one of four campaigns.

Such dominance is hard to find in England as City, Chelsea,
Arsenal, Tottenham, Manchester United and Liverpool –
Guardiola’s opponents at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday – vie for
supremacy, while Leicester City proved the unpredictability of
Premier League after hoisting the trophy aloft last season.

In an exclusive interview with Omnisport, Eriksson – who spent
a year in charge of City in 2007-08 – said: “If you are the
coach of Bayern Munich, Barcelona or Real Madrid, the chances
to win something are huge.

“When you go to the Premier League, you have six, seven, eight
teams who are fighting to win. Confidence is much higher in the
Bundesliga or LaLiga.

“The difference between Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico
[Madrid] lately, and the others, is rather big. But the
difference between City, Chelsea, United, Arsenal and Tottenham
is not that big.

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“It is more difficult for any coach to work in the Premier
League than any other league. You can lose or win against any

“Next year, who knows, maybe you can put your money on
Leicester again.”

If there was further proof needed of the Premier League’s
difficulty, look no further than the Foxes.

Just nine months removed from guiding Leicester to arguably the
Premier League’s greatest triumph, Claudio Ranieri was sacked
last month amid growing concerns of relegation.

It also showed the fickle nature of England’s top flight.

“Football is beautiful and cruel,” said former Leicester boss
Eriksson, who is now in charge of Shenzhen FC in China’s second
division. “Ranieri won the Premier League and no one would’ve
expected that. One of the biggest surprises.

“He was doing a great job. In December, he was named the best
coach in the world and two months later he is sacked.”

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Leicester have won three consecutive matches since Craig
Shakespeare stepped up to replace Ranieri, including a 2-1
success over Sevilla to book a Champions League quarter-final.

“They have had a couple of good results recently. Everybody saw
the fear of going down,” added Eriksson ahead of Leicester’s
trip to West Ham on Saturday. “I think the biggest target is to
survive. Then they have time to do whatever they have to do to

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