Pep Guardiola will be out of Manchester City’s next two Premier League games after undergoing back surgery at Barcelona.
A statement from the Premier League champions says their manager has been suffering from back pain for some time and underwent emergency surgery at Barcelona.
Guardiola’s operation was successful but he will continue his rehabilitation in the city. The 52-year-old is unlikely to be back on the touchline for City before the international break, meaning he will miss Sunday’s trip to Sheffield United, live on Air Sports, as well as the visit to Fulham on September 2.
Sunday August 27 at 1:00 p.m.
Kick off at 2:00 p.m.
In his absence, Juanma Lillo – who only returned to the club as an assistant coach earlier this month after coaching Al Sadd in Qatar – will take charge of training and matches for the treble winners.
Man City have already been without Pep…
It’s not the first time Man City have been without their manager since Guardiola arrived at the Etihad Stadium in the summer of 2016.
A Champions League sideline ban in mid-2018 saw Guardiola hand Mikel Arteta the responsibility of visiting Lyon in September of that year, a group stage match City lost 2-1.
Then, at the start of 2022, Guardiola missed an FA Cup third round at Swindon Town due to coronavirus.
Guardiola and his assistant Lillo were left out of the game, so assistant coach Rodolfo Borrell took charge of the game. City won the match 4-1 despite isolating 14 backroom staff and seven first-team players due to Covid-19.
Lillo in a nutshell
Started his coaching career early
Although Lillo has no playing experience to draw on, his coaching career began when he was just 16 after joining his local team Amaroz KE in the northern Basque region of Spain. Spain. He stayed there for four years before taking charge of local club Tolosa CF, in the Spanish fourth division.
Called into the big leagues
After several years at the bottom of the Spanish pyramid, Lillo had their big hit at Salamanca in 1992, guiding them from the third division to La Liga in three years.
As a result, he became the youngest coach in the Spanish top flight at the time, aged just 29. He was sacked as Salamanca languished in the relegation zone, causing an outcry among supporters. The club couldn’t avoid an immediate return to the Segunda Division, but Lillo’s profile was significantly raised.
Spread its wings
After nearly two and a half decades working exclusively in his native Spain, Lillo headed to Mexican side Dorados de Sinaloa in the mid-2000s. One of the players under him was Guardiola, who was at the end of his brilliant playing career.
Since then, Lillo has had the travel bug, having managed teams in Colombia, Japan, China and Qatar, when he was Jorge Sampaoli’s understudy with the Chile national team and is now on his second stint. under Guardiola at City.
Kindred spirits with Guardiola
Lillo first joined the Etihad Stadium in the summer of 2020, replacing outgoing Mikel Arteta, after guiding Qingdao Huanghai to promotion to the top-flight Chinese Super League.
He left ahead of City’s treble campaign last season to take over as head coach of Al Sadd but returned to City earlier this month.
Director of Football Txiki Begiristain said: “His vision is totally aligned with Pep’s. They both love this game and want their teams to produce high quality attacking football.”
Details, details, details
Lillo’s worth was revealed before City granted him a temporary promotion, with Guardiola expected to be back in the dugout mid next month after the international break.
Guardiola was full of praise when Lillo returned to the North West, drawing attention to his hardworking nature, saying: “Juanma sees things no one else in the game sees.
“He understands football at an incredible level, so he’s the perfect person to work with. His preparation for matches is absolutely amazing. I know he will raise the bar because he works so hard every day.”