Pep’s assistant Carlos Vicens leaves for Eredivisie – What was his role at Manchester City?

Rajasik Mukherjee
By Rajasik Mukherjee
5 Min Read

Carlos Vicens, Pep Guardiola’s assistant at the Etihad is set to leave Manchester City at the end of the season after agreeing to a two year deal with Heracles Almelo as their new first-team manager.

The Dutch side has confirmed the news on their official handle. The move will be Carlos’ debut as the first team manager of a top-flight team. Named after the name of the demigod son of Zeus, Heracles has been in the top flight since 2005.

Who is Carlos Vicens?

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Born in Las Salinas, Carlos Vicens used to train as a footballer at Mallorca’s youth academy but shifted his entire time and dedication towards management following a career-threatening injury at the age of 27. Since then the Balearic coach has tried his hands at Spanish outfits like; Santanyí and Llosetense. Carlos Vicens moved to England in July 2017 to be the assistant manager of City’s youth teams viz, U12s and U13s. The following year he was promoted to the U18 team as the assistant to the then manager Graham Taylor. After 2 years as Taylor’s deputy, Carlos took over his boss’ job in 2020 and had a very successful season with Manchester City’s U18 team.

What was his role at Manchester City?

Grooming the future

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Vicens was Taylor’s assistant for two years, winning two Premier League Cups and the 2019/20 national title. More importantly, seven of the players who went through the under-18s during that period have gone on to earn first-team appearances. In his first season as the head boss, Carlos guided his team to their consecutive English Youth League. A FA Youth Cup winner’s medal was the cherry on the cake for the Spanish-born coach. In that season, City had a record 2.52 points per game in the 29 matches they played. Vicens was also responsible for grooming individuals like Cole Palmer, Liam Delap, and James McAtee, paving their way to their entry to the senior team managed by Pep Guardiola.

Pep’s ally

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Following a season of good performance with the junior teams, Carlos Vicens made his way through the City pyramid as he was hired to assist the senior team manager, Joseph Guardiola. Besides being the assistant manager, Vicens was primarily responsible for set pieces training. And this is where he flourished the most. Pep Guardiola is a perfectionist on the football pitch and Carlos effortlessly played the role of his ally. 

The following image shows the net improvement of Manchester City in terms of goals scored or conceded from corners. They have scored 12 goals as compared to last year’s 9 but one may argue that this is not City’s best as they have scored 16 and 17 goals in the past, well certainly they have but at the expense of leaking goals through dead balls but this season, City have conceded the fewest number of goals, a distinction that is currently being shared by Arsenal and Wolves as well. 

image credit the analyst

Man City has scored 18 goals from dead balls this season, the most of any top-flight team this season and the most since 2013-14. They have only conceded from set-pieces once this season, which is again better than the rest. Carlos Vicens has overseen progress in both areas. Guardiola remarked, ‘Carlos has made it so simple and transparent for the players.’ He is a clever, imaginative coach with excellent communication skills.

Despite not being the tallest team, Manchester City are more resilient defensively and offensively. Vicens obviously has something to offer. During Guardiola’s tenure at City, these stats are also breaking new ground. Their goals from those situations now account for more of their total goals (21%) and less of their total conceded goals (5%), respectively, than in any previous season.

Pep has credited all of this success to his backroom staff, Carlos Vicens. “Carlos Vicens is an excellent communicator. The meetings about set pieces are simple, inspired, and clever, and I believe the players notice.” 

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