Guardiola loses right-hand man as Man City coach Lillo quits for Qatar club

Guardiola Lillo

Pep Guardiola's assistant coach Juanma Lillo has left Manchester City to take over as head coach at Qatari side Al-Sadd Sports Club.

The Spanish coach has played an important role since he joined the club in June 2020 and helped City win two Premier League titles and reach the Champions League final.

Despite being a big loss to his coaching staff, Guardiola has never been one to stand in the way of his assistants when they have been presented with good opportunities, with predecessors Mikel Arteta leaving to take over at Arsenal and Domenec Torrent joining New York City FC.

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How much will Lillo be missed?

Guardiola has been able to tap into Lillo's vast experience after a 40-year coaching career that has also taken in clubs Spain, Mexico and China.

“His knowledge of the game is overwhelming. He sees things that few people in the world, me included, are able to,” Guardiola said of Lillo in 2021.

He was also popular with the players, particularly the Spanish and Portuguese-speaking ones as he spoke little English.

Who will replace him?

Guardiola still has a deep trusted coaching staff that includes former Liverpool coach Rodolfo Borrell, who has worked as his number two before.

He is also boosted by the retention of Carlos Vicens, who has decided to stay despite earlier agreeing to take over at Dutch club Heracles Almelo.

Arteta's departure to take over at Arsenal back in 2019 came midseason, and Guardiola now at least has the summer to find a suitable replacement for Lillo this time around.

How was his time at City?

“My time at Manchester City has been one of the most enjoyable periods of my career," he said after confirming the departure.

“To work alongside Pep, his backroom staff and this group of players has been a pleasure and I hope to have contributed in a small way to the fantastic success we have enjoyed on the pitch.

“I wish the club the very best and hope they can achieve all of their ambitions moving forwards.”

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