'Not at all!' - Man City assistant Juanma Lillo makes surprise admission after filling in for Pep Guardiola at Sheffield United and explains why Phil Foden was dropped to the bench

Juanma LilloGetty
  • Lillo not enjoying Guardiola absence
  • Assistant didn't want to sit in boss's seat
  • Explained Foden was feeling ill before match

WHAT HAPPENED? Lillo has unwittingly been placed in charge of City since last Tuesday while Guardiola recovers from back surgery. He oversaw a dramatic 2-1 win at Sheffield United in his first game in the dugout. However, he confessed that he is not enjoying being the main man and wants Guardiola to come back as soon as possible.

WHAT THEY SAID: "Not at all!" Lillo replied when asked if he was enjoying the experience. "I much prefer being with Pep. Especially when it’s a question of health, I don’t enjoy this at all. We need his presence more than ever. If there had been more space on the bench today I would not have sat in his seat. Pep's seat is Pep's seat."

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Lillo also explained that Phil Foden, who came off the bench to set up Rodri's winning strike, had experienced stomach problems days before the game and that was why he did not start, after a superb performance last week against Newcastle. "Phil had some problems with his stomach, he wasn’t feeling in the best condition. We could see he wasn’t feeling very well and we were able to use the squad," he said.

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AND WHAT'S MORE: Lillo also paid tribute to Erling Haaland's mental strength after the Norwegian broke the deadlock in the second half after missing a penalty. "Today would’ve neen difficult for any striker," he said. "Of course there was the situation with the penalty, which is frustrating for anyone. What it does show, he came close on other occasions, it shows his mental fortitude to keep going and going. It’s difficult to find. His mindset is so good that OK, he missed the penalty, but he kept trying to score goals."


Rodolfo Borrell, Assistant Coach of Manchester City, Pep Guardiola, Manager of Manchester City, and Juanma Lillo, Getty Images

Erling Haaland Manchester City 2023-24Getty Images

Juanma Lillo Manchester City 2023-24Getty Images

WHAT NEXT FOR MAN CITY? The Premier League champions host Fulham next Saturday, when Lillo will be in charge again as Guardiola continues his recovery.

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