at the Union Buildings in Pretoria
London – Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger voiced his dismay on Friday after Pep Guardiola's decision to step down as manager of Barcelona was confirmed.
Wenger said he would have liked to have seen Guardiola remain at the Camp Nou and attempt to re-establish the Spanish giants' dominance after a week which effectively saw the Catalans lose both their European and domestic crowns.
Speaking shortly before Guardiola's exit was made official, Wenger questioned whether the 41-year-old's decision to go had been made in haste.
“It comes as a surprise to me because first of all when you make a decision after a big disappointment like he has had in the past week, it may not be the right moment to make this decision,” Wenger said.
“The philosophy of Barcelona has to be bigger than winning or losing a championship.
“Guardiola is one of the representatives of this philosophy and made this philosophy triumph so I would have loved him, even going through a disappointing year, to stay and come back and insist with his philosophy. That would be interesting.”
Nevertheless Wenger, whose Arsenal side were eliminated twice from the Champions League by Guardiola's Barcelona in recent seasons, said he had sympathy for his counterpart's decision.
“I can understand there are not many managers who work throughout a career without a breather,” Wenger said.
“Maybe he has not shown the stress. Maybe it's taken more than he has shown. You never know from the outside how deeply a man suffers from the inside.
“I have heard he has come out and wants to have a break to reflect on the situation, which you can understand after a certain time.
“I decided the other way to never come out of a job, because it becomes second nature to cope with it. It becomes your life, but some people need to move out at some stage.”
Wenger, who has been linked with a move to the Camp Nou in the past, meanwhile laughed when asked if he would fancy taking over from Guardiola.
“I'm happy here,” Wenger said. – Sapa-AFP