Manchester City will be without Pep Guardiola on the touchline until next month, leaving Juanma Lillo to fill in for the Spaniard, but who is the man set to temporarily take the reins at the Etihad Stadium?
With Guardiola having recently undergone surgery to fix a back problem, the 52-year-old will be unavailable until after next month’s international break, meaning that he will not be in the dugout for City’s upcoming Premier League games against Sheffield United and Fulham.
With Lillo now set to fill in for the City manager, let’s take a closer look at Guardiola’s second in command.
Who is Juanma Lillo?
Having had numerous managerial spells in charge of clubs in Spain, Mexico and Japan, as well as a brief stint in charge of the Chile national team, the 57-year-old then joined City in 2020 to be Guardiola’s assistant manager following the departure of Mikel Arteta.
Two years later, Lillo left the club to manage Al-Saad, where he won 20 of the 31 matches he overlooked before making a return to City earlier this summer to rejoin Guardiola’s coaching staff.
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Following his return to the Manchester club, the City manager had this to say about him.
He said: “Juanma is the best assistant in the bad moments. In the good ones, I don’t need anyone – just open the champagne to celebrate together.
“Juanma, beyond his knowledge about football, who can identify specific things with football players, he is a massive human being. All the staff and players are delighted to see him back.”
With that in mind, it’s clear to see that Lillo is a popular figure at the club and has the knowledge, experience and personality to make sure the players do what they need to over their next couple of league games while Guardiola is recovering.