Euro 2016 has come to an end and the fans across the footballing world have turned their attention to the preparation and the pre-season of some of the biggest clubs across Europe. Having been appointed as the manager of Manchester City back in February, Pep Guardiola held his first press conference on July 8th and seems more than keen to hit the ground running with his new side.
The 45-year-old has become accustomed to consistent success in his previous spells as a manager at Barcelona and Bayern Munich. The Spanish tactician has mastered the art of passing football commonly referred to as ‘Tiki Taka’ and from his responses in a 40-minute appearance last week it seems increasingly likely that the new City boss will look to emulate this system promptly in the lead up to his opening fixture against last year survivor’s Sunderland.
After being cross-questioned on his team’s consistency and if his style of play could match the Premier League demands of aggression and competitiveness, Guardiola responded with a quote which should excite the fans significantly.
“That’s why I’m here. To prove myself. I was in Barcelona where I had absolutely everything, the best player ever and one team where most of the players grew up from the academy so I knew them. Bayern Munich, a club who have a lot of experience as well for many, many things.
“Here is another test for my career. It would’ve been comfortable to stay where I was, I feel that it is the right moment to come here and prove myself. If I’m able to convince these players the way we want, and show a level at the end then we’ll see. If it’s not going well, we’re ready to prepare what’s going to happen.”
With an average final season under Manuel Pellegrini and only narrowly qualifying for the Champions league by finishing above fierce city rivals Manchester United on goal difference, it is no lie that the City squad needs uplifting. With money already spent on the likes of Ilkay Gundogan, Nolito and Ukranian wonderkid Oleksandr Zinchenko, the newly implemented coach’s comments on captain Vincent Kompany as well as the following reference on English football, it is becoming more likely that a new set of players will be welcomed to the squad before the September deadline.
“People in England knows his quality, maybe better than me. My dream for Vincent Kompany is to be fit. We cannot ask about Kompany, in the last two years he’s played not too many games. To be fit [is his goal]. We cannot talk about the other point. The captain has a lot of experience, he’s a magnificent central defender but he has to be fit.
“I am encouraged and I am looking forward to work with Raheem Sterling and show him how good a player he is and not just him, Joe Hart and the other English players. In Barcelona the basis was Catalan players, in Bayern the basis was German and I would like to work with English players here but they are so expensive. Not just about Joe, about him, I will try to work with all of them.”
With Martin Demichelis released, concerns over Kompany’s fitness and both Eliaquim Mangala and Nicolas Otamendi failing to impress during last season, the Blues will look to fulfil the ultimate aspiration to bring a certain Italian defender (Leonardo Bonucci) to the Etihad this summer. As for working with English players, the likes of Chelsea, Manchester United, City and even Barcelona have been quoted a high hitting £50 million for John Stones and if the reports are to be believed the 22-year-old could be swapping the Blue of Everton for the Blue of Manchester very soon.
“I love to work with the young players. In Barcelona I was lucky, I started in the second team and when I was promoted to the first team I knew all the players from the second and third teams. That helped me a lot.
Chelsea and Manchester City are the best academies in that way and the way they play. They are both fighting to win titles in the academies. Now I realise in a short time we are working with 9-10 players in the second team and most of them I’m really impressed with their quality.”
Over the last decade, the Spaniard has been renown for welcoming and introducing young talent through the academy systems of the two teams he has been successful with. From the season of 2007-08, Guardiola took the opportunity to take up the role as manager in the Barcelona B squad. This is the year where it is strongly suggested that the now City head coach developed his love for the youth system and how the players inside can develop a team to significant lengths. This is most certainly the case with players stretching from Sergi Roberto who has been compared to Zinedine Zidane by Albert Benaiges in an article for Goal.com and recently signed Southampton midfielder Pierre-Emile Højbjerg who’s £12.8 million price tag seems like a bargain for the levels the 20-year-old can most definitely reach in the coming years.
In this moment in time, the seemingly determined Guardiola looks to build a team based on his managerial strengths at Manchester City this year. The comments said in Spanish on how the likes of Jose Mourinho, Jurgen Klopp and Antonio Conte have made him a better coach, depicts why this still relatively young manager is admired and respected by many across the ever growing footballing industry.
Now moving forward into the summer and teams jetting out to lavish continents for warm weather training and fixtures you can’t help but admire the work of Pep Guardiola. How in only the space of 40 minutes he has shown the exact willingness and optimism needed to be a success in the Premier League and how Manchester City next season will be a force to be reckoned with.
This article is written by Reuben Rosso, you can follow him on Twitter at @Talk2RossoSport. What are your thoughts? Let us know by dropping a comment via our comments box below. Make sure you follow us on Twitter, Google+, Instagram and like us on Facebook.