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04.12.2008 14:28

Two youngest managers face to face

Berta Brau

Josep Guardiola and Unai Emery are the two youngest managers in the first division, and despite their short careers both have already made a major impact and meet for the first time at the Camp Nou this weekend.

Nobody could tell from the results Barça and Valencia have been getting this season that the two clubs have the youngest and most inexperienced managers in the championship. But that’s the case. Aged 37, Pep Guardiola and Unai Emery have won their reputations by their own merit and after just two and five seasons in management respectively, both have made remarkable achievements in a short space of time.

Two seasons for Guardiola

Josep Guardiola hung up his boots in the summer of 2006 after a long and distinguished playing career. But he had no intention of leaving football, and within months he had accepted a job as manager of Barça B, and guided the team back up into Division 2B.

fcb-almeria_x7x.jpgHis excellent results in charge of the reserves made him a prime candidate for the first team position. Many doubted whether he was ready for such a high-profile role, but his side is currently top of the league and going strong in the Champions League and Copa del Rey, forcing those who doubted his credentials to eat their words.

Unai Emery and promotions

Unai Emery has also had plenty to celebrate in his limited managerial career. It all began in the 2004/2005 season when he was playing for Division 2B outfit Lorca. Midway through the season he became manager of the side and led them into the second division proper, and the following season the club came close to winning promotion into the top flight.

First division experience

The Basque manager was then snapped up by Almería, his challenge being to guide the club back to the first division. And he once again achieved his target, and Almería were the surprise outfit of last season’s championship, finishing in a more than respectable eighth place, quite some achievement for an unglamorous and newly promoted club.

Having seen what Emery was able to get out of teams with limited resources, Valencia felt he was just the man to manage the club into a new era. And once again, Emery is not disappointing, for Valencia are currently third in the table and posting some remarkable performances.
Two youngest managers face to face

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