Friday 23 March 2018

Pep Guardiola promises Man City players 'kick up the backside' and sidesteps Messi question

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola is presented to the fans
Action Images via Reuters / Craig Brough
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola is presented to the fans Action Images via Reuters / Craig Brough

Chris Bascombe

Pep Guardiola has started his reign at Manchester City promising an era of ‘hugs and kicks up the backside’.

Despite arriving in the Premier League with a staggering  22 major trophies, the 45-year-old supercoach claimed he was moving to England with something to prove.

And he made it clear to his City players what to expect if they did not impose his vision.

“That is why I am here. For the challenge. I proved myself in Catalonia and I proved myself in Germany and now I want to prove myself in England,” said Guardiola.

“With my staff and players we want to try and make Manchester City play in a way to make people proud. Then we will see our level. At the end what I want is for our people and supporters – and people who love football – to enjoy and be proud of what we did. I can’t do that alone.”

The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich coach was formally introduced at a fans event held at Manchester City’s Academy in what was the most choreographed unveiling English football as witnessed.

 The biggest cheer was reserved when the 45-year-old offered in insight into his style.

“First I have to meet the players and know them – not from TV – and speak with them, hug them and kick their arse,” he said, to appreciative applause.

“Every manager in the world wants to improve their players that is how to improve the team. I work like all managers. I have my point of view and how I want to see my team play but I need time. In the world we don’t have time so we will try to create a good team as soon as possible. Our body language at first is the most important thing and then the rest will come along.

“Play good. After one game win another one. Team spirit and playing good and then winning the first game and the next one.

“I know the players. I played against Manchester City many times and I know their quality, but they have to show me again. The past is the past. People do not come here to remember what we did but to try again.

“My tactics adapt to the quality of my players. I can’t demand what they can not give me. It is not possible. I can not talk about how my players or how we will play if I do not feel it.

“I want them to be a good team mate. I like players who think about themselves but also about Manchester City. The reason we are here is to think what we can do to make this a better club. Not what the club can do for them. We want a better club.”

 Guardiola has already added two new signings, Ilkay Gundogan and Nolito, but despite City’s ability to outbid any club in the world he ruled out reuniting with Lionel Messi.

“He is not a bad player this guy, but I’m sorry Messi has to stay in Barcelona for the rest of his career,” said Guardiola.

 With his rival Jose Mourinho joining Manchester United, Guardiola is aware the cult of personality will dominate this year’s title race.

 He was keen to ensure the focus is on the pitch rather than dug-out.

“In England the most important thing in football, the people don’t come to see who the manager is, they come to see how good our players are,” he said.

“I don’t think just this year, in the past as well, there are good managers with Klopp, with Conte, with Ranieri, Mourinho Pochettino, Koeman - but the reason I work here is just to help the players.

“One of my dreams was to play here like a football player and now it comes true as a manager. I come here to learn. I was always curious to know what it is like in England.”

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