Pep Guardiola, the Manchester City manager, has made a startling claim.

He claimed football managers are “overrated” when it comes to their influence on players.

The Spaniard was responding to questions about his influence on the new boy, Erling Haaland.

Haaland has taken English football by storm and has netted 12 goals in seven matches for the Premier League champions already.

With Haaland now set for a quick reunion against his former club Borussia Dortmund in the second round of Champions League fixtures on Wednesday, Guardiola – widely regarded as one of the best coaches in the game – believes football players’ level of intelligence is what defines results.

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“It’s not what you have to do, it’s when you have to do it. That’s why football is so difficult,” Guardiola told his pre-match press conference ahead of the visit of Dortmund.

“I said many times when we make the [analysis] videos and we pause it and say: ‘look, guys, the space is there’ – this is fake.

“How you have to make the decision, how many times you do it: it only belongs to the players. I’ve said it many times: we, the managers, are overrated in our influence.

“The game belongs to them [the players], decisions have to be made and they can express [their game] and do it as many times as they want. You can miss it sometimes when the pass is on.”

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