Pep Guardiola reveals why he joined Manchester City in first press conference as manager
Guardiola also spoke of his rivalry with Jose Mourinho and Jurgen Klopp
Days after Manchester City unveiled Pep Guardiola as their new manager to signal the start of a new era, the new boss held his first press conference after arriving in England to start pre-season. The Catalan boss has already conducted training sessions with some of the players who have returned after a summer break and also had a look at the younger players at the club.
“I love to work with young players,” Guardiola said. “Having worked here one week, I’m really impressed with their quality.”
The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss has won 21 trophies in his previous stints in the Spanish La Liga and German Bundesliga which includes six league titles and two UEFA Champions League titles. So why did he move to the Premier League to manage Manchester City?
“I am here to prove myself,” Guardiola explained. “People say I would not be able to play the same way at Barcelona and Bayern as I will here.
“This is another test for my career. It would have been comfortable to stay where I was but it was the right moment to come here.”
He even joked about the English schedule and how the highlight of his season could be playing a game on Boxing Day. Having managed in leagues which have a winter break, the packed schedule in the holiday season in December and January could pose a big challenge to Guardiola.
“I never played on a Boxing Day,” he said. “I have never been to a stadium where it is windy and freezing and the pitch is not good.”
He also spoke about how he would adapt to English football and would take the help of his assistant coaches Brian Kidd and Mikel Arteta, who recently retired after a final season with Arsenal to take up a career in coaching.
“I think it will be more physical,” Guardiola said. “People say it’s less attractive but I don’t know.
“I’ll talk to Brian Kidd and Mikel Arteta to learn more. Brian is helping me to get to know the players. Arteta is one of the best midfielders there has been and he knows English football. He’s got 12, 13 years in Scotland and here. He knows what Boxing Day is like!”
Rivalry with Jose Mourinho made me better: Guardiola
Both Guardiola and Mourinho have had run-ins in the past. Real Madrid and Barcelona were at loggerheads and had a poisonous rivalry in the years Mourinho was in charge at the Bernabeu. El Clasicos became the stage for everything but football as rivalries got out of hand.
And as expected, questions did revolve around the rivalry between the two managers.
“Jose said it pretty well,” Guardiola responded. “It’s not about me or him. The other one is going to win.
“What I saw from the distance is that it is so tough to win games here. I will find that out myself.
“We have played against each other many times as coaches and the big coaches help me to reach another level. My experience against him or Jurgen Klopp, they made me better. All of the managers want to win and we want to do that as well.”