Game respects game! Pep Guardiola lauds Erik ten Hag as ‘exceptional manager’ and claims Man Utd boss ‘represents our profession in the best way possible’

Guardiola Ten Hag splitGetty
  • Catalan praised his old colleague
  • Guardiola worked alongside Ten Hag at Bayern
  • He described Dutchman as 'an exceptional manager'

WHAT HAPPENED? The Catalan was full of praise for the United manager, who he will come up against in the FA Cup final on Saturday. The two coaches know each other well from their time at Bayern Munich, when Guardiola coached the first team and Ten Hag was in charge of the reserve side. Guardiola won the first meeting against his old colleague when City beat United 6-3 in October, but Ten Hag avenged the thrashing when the Red Devils beat their neighbours 2-1 in January. They face each other for a third time in the FA Cup final on Saturday.

WHAT THEY SAID: "It's not easy the first season in the Premier League, I know myself, so that defines a really good manager. I cannot say we are friends as we are not in touch much. But I think Man United has an exceptional manager for many, many years," Guardiola told Friday's press conference.

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Ten Hag, who led United to finish third in the Premier League and has already won the Carabao Cup, was highly complimentary of Guardiola after City won the title. Guardiola added: "It's the final of the FA Cup and it's a pleasure to be here. It's a final so nothing else. It should be good for us if we have to think about what we have to do to win one game - nothing changes to analyse the strength of our opponents and the weaknesses they have. A final is special for itself but United from the last four, five six months are a completely different team. Now I have the feeling from the beginning of the season is different and they have improved. It's United so the qualities of players have always been here."

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Erik ten Hag Carabao Cup trophy Manchester UnitedGettyPep Guardiola Manchester City 2022-23Getty Images

WHAT NEXT? City are aiming to complete the double against United in the FA Cup final before playing against Inter Milan in the Champions League final on June 10.