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Midday Ticker: Guardiola returning to Camp Nou for UCL clash; Pellegrini defends Manchester City’s season; and more




With Bayern Munich through to the UEFA Champions League quarterfinal, manager Pep Guardiola is hitting the road for a scouting trip in his native land.

One of his stops will be Camp Nou, where Barcelona is set to take on Manchester City on Wednesday. The visit will be the former Blaugrana boss’ first trip back to watch a game at the ground since leaving the club in 2012.

Guardiola is expected to watch the match from the crowd with his family, as he still maintains a season ticket. Prior to visiting Barcelona, Guardiola will make the trip to Madrid on Tuesday for Atletico’s tie with Bayer Leverkusen.

Here are some more of Tuesday afternoon’s news and notes:


Despite the fact that Manchester City may well finish the season without a trophy, Manuel Pellegrini is not worried about his job security.

The manager defended his team’s campaign in an interview with The Guardian, saying that a last-16 berth in the Champions League and second place in the English Premier League does not qualify as a disaster. He also refused to give up on catching Chelsea, noting that Manchester City still has nine EPL games remaining.

But in addition to his defense, Pellegrini also offered a possible reason for the decline – a lack of marquee additions.

“We brought Willy Caballero to give Joe Hart competition; [Eliaquim] Mangala, who’s 23 and will be an important player; Fernando because Javier García wanted to go; [Bacary] Sagna because Micah Richards was always injured. What we didn’t do was sign a crack [superstar],” Pellegrini said.


After firing Gus Poyet on Monday, Sunderland has made a move to replace the manager, at least until the end of this season.

The club announced Tuesday that Dick Advocaat will take the helm for the remainder of the campaign.

“Dick has an incredible CV and vast experience of managing at the very highest level,” Sunderland chairman Ellis Short said in a statement. “We have one aim only now – to climb the table and everyone is fully focused on the task ahead of us.”

The Dutchman has managed a number of squads over the past 35 years, including Zenit St. Petersburg, PSV Eindhoven, AZ Alkmaar and the Dutch national team. Most recently, he was the head man for the Serbian national team, though his contract was terminated after just three matches.

“Sunderland is a big club and I am very much looking forward to the challenge ahead,” Advocaat said in the statement. “We must now concentrate on Saturday as a priority and I can’t wait to get started.”


Ronald Koeman has helped Southampton climb the EPL table and put the club in a position to possibly qualify for European football.

But those achievements haven’t stopped the Dutchman from dreaming of a job at a bigger club.

Koeman – who coached at the likes of Ajax, Benfica and PSV Eindhoven, among others, before joining Southampton – has been linked with a move to Manchester City. That’s where his former Barcelona teammate, Txiki Begiristain, is the director of football. Though he has denied that particular rumor, Koeman did leave the door open for a move somewhere down the line.

“I am ready to coach a big club,” Koeman told Spanish radio show El Partido de las 12. “I have spent a lot of time coaching at various clubs, and this type of experience is very important to be a good coach.”


What do you make of Guardiola’s return to Barcelona? Do you think Pellegrini’s job is in jeopardy? Can Advocaat help Sunderland avoid relegation?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Pellegrini – we were so desperate for crack we had to resort to taking a Chelsea reject from an MLS team – M…L…freakin’…S!


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