MANCHESTER -- Pep Guardiola has mounted a staunch defence of Sir Alex Ferguson by insisting it is completely unfair to blame him for Manchester United’s decline this season.
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The Spaniard, who joked he does not know if he was offered the job of replacing the Scot at Old Trafford, said Ferguson cannot be held responsible for his successor David Moyes’ troubles.
The Bayern Munich coach said he sympathised with the struggling Moyes but insisted that managers of major clubs are expected to win trophies.
Ferguson has been criticised as United, who won 13 Premier League titles in 21 seasons, have slipped to seventh place this year but Guardiola said it is inconceivable that their slump is the 72-year-old’s fault and believes he should be celebrated, not castigated.
Guardiola said: “Sometimes many, many things happen that are difficult to understand. I don't know how Sir Alex Ferguson can have a bad influence on this club. I think it's completely the opposite.
“This club was the best club in England thanks to him. He re-organised the club and put the club on another level in this country. Before it was Liverpool. I'm happy Liverpool are coming back because they are playing awesome and they deserve to be there.
“It's good for the Champions League next season. But I am pretty sure Alex Ferguson was the most important person in this club's history, at least in the last half-century."
And Guardiola, who met Ferguson in a New York restaurant in 2012 as the Spaniard was in negotiations with Bayern, said he was unsure if he could have had the job Moyes eventually filled.
He said: “My English is not so good so when Sir Alex spoke quickly I didn’t understand him. So maybe I didn’t understand if I received an offer or not. It was a friendly dinner, like always he has with me. He was so gentle and we spent a very good time together.”
Unless Moyes wins the Champions League, he will end his first season at United without a trophy and former Barcelona boss Guardiola believes managers of Europe’s elite clubs are always under pressure to secure silverware.
He said: “In the big clubs when you don’t win, always you are in trouble. In the big clubs that happens, it happens in Bayern Munich. Last year, they won everything and we try to maintain that level and we did it at least in the local competition [the Bundesliga]. Here, in Spain, in Italy, you have to win in the big clubs.”
However, Guardiola claimed United made the right decision in appointing Moyes and suggested he should be shown patience after a difficult year.
He explained: “When Manchester United decided to take David Moyes it is because they are able to do it. Sometimes you need a little more time. The decisions of Manchester United are always right. They know he is a good coach and did a good job at Everton.”