Video: Guardiola’s decision to quit a surprise, admits Arsenal’s Wenger

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger admits his surprise at Pep Guardiola's decision to quit Barcelona at the end of the season

Arsene Wenger has admitted his surprise at Pep Guardiola’s decision to quit Barcelona – but says he understands the intensity of the pressure on the Catalan club’s coach.

Guardiola confirmed on Friday that he will step down at the end of the season after four hugely successful years in charge of Barça.

The 41-year-old, who has led Barça to a remarkable 13 trophies since taking the reigns at Camp Nou in 2008, will be replaced by Tito Vilanova – Guardiola’s assistant throughout his four years in charge of the club.

And Wenger, who saw his side knocked out of the Champions League by Guardiola’s men in 2009-10 and 2010-11, revealed his surprise at the Spaniard’s decision at his weekly news briefing on Friday.

“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,” said Wenger.

“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.

“Believe me, if somebody can understand [the pressure on Guardiola] it’s me! I can understand there are not many managers who work throughout a career without a breather.

“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.”

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