Pep Guardiola, the revered manager of Manchester City, is set to miss the team’s next two Premier League matches as he recovers from back surgery in Barcelona.
The announcement from the reigning Premier League champions reveals that Guardiola has been grappling with prolonged back pain, necessitating immediate surgery. Although the procedure was successful, his rehabilitation is ongoing in Barcelona.
As a result, Guardiola’s absence from the touchline is anticipated to extend until after the imminent international break, causing him to miss key encounters against Sheffield United and Fulham on September 2.
During this period, the mantle of leadership will fall to Juanma Lillo, who recently returned to the role of assistant manager at Manchester City. Lillo’s reinstatement followed his stint as the Al Sadd manager in Qatar. Tasked with overseeing training sessions and managing matches for the accomplished treble winners, Lillo’s role becomes instrumental as Manchester City faces these pivotal games.
Manchester City’s history reflects their ability to navigate challenges even in Guardiola’s absence. Notably, a past Champions League touchline ban led to Mikel Arteta taking charge during a game against Lyon in 2018, a match that narrowly eluded Manchester City’s grasp.
Similarly, in early 2022, Guardiola’s absence due to Covid-19 led to Rodolfo Borrell, the assistant coach, stepping in during a successful FA Cup third-round tie, despite the absence of numerous staff members and players.
Despite the potential concerns arising from Guardiola’s absence, Manchester City’s track record of surmounting similar situations positions them well for the upcoming games. With a storied history of resilience, the team’s ability to adapt and perform remains unwavering.
While Guardiola’s influential presence will be missed, the focus shifts to the collective effort of the team and the adept guidance of Lillo.
As Manchester City braces for a challenging period sans their manager, the spotlight shines on the team’s ability to maintain their competitive edge.