Guardiola aims to ‘prove himself’

3 Jul

Pep Guardiola

Pep Guardiola has previously managed Barcelona and Bayern Munich

New Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola says he moved to the Premier League to prove himself in England.

Around 7,000 fans turned up at Etihad Stadium to hear the 45-year-old speak for the first time as City manager

“That is why I am here. I proved myself in Barcelona and after I proved myself in Germany I wanted to prove myself in England,” he said.

“I cannot do that alone. I need the players, the staff. We need our fans. Without that, it is impossible.”

The Spaniard joins City after three years at Bayern Munich where he won a hat-trick of Bundesliga titles but failed to reach a Champions League final.

Read more: Ex-Arsenal midfielder Arteta joins Man City coaching staff

However, the former Spain international midfielder did win that tournament twice during his four years as Barcelona boss.

He believes that a strong team spirit will be integral to City’s success.

“I like the players who don’t just think for themselves but think about Manchester City,” said Guardiola.

“We are all the people who are working here. The reason we are here is thinking ‘what can we do to make this club a better club’.

“I don’t want the guys to think about what the club can do for them. We are here to make Manchester City a better club in the next three, four, five years.”

He added: “One of the reasons I decided to come to Manchester City is I know from (sporting director) Txiki Begiristain how good they are working with the young players – 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, they grow and grow and imagine they can join us in the first team.”

‘Everyone will improve’

Midfielder Ilkay Gundogan is certain City can become a great team under the “best manager in the world” in Guardiola.

Gundogan, 25, was Guardiola’s first signing as manager, arriving from Borussia Dortmund for £20m.

Ilkay Gundogan<!–

Ilkay Gundogan was introduced to the media for the first time as a City player

“No doubt everyone will improve his own talent. It will be a really nice time for us,” Gundogan told BBC Sport.

“I have no doubt Pep will form a great team, a competitive team. He was the biggest influence in me coming here.

“The team has a lot of talent, and he’s the best manager in the world. It’s a really exciting time and we are looking forward to it.”

City have won the Premier League twice – in 2012 and 2014 – and last season reached the Champions League semi-finals and won the League Cup, but finished 15 points behind surprise champions Leicester.

Gundogan dislocated his kneecap at the start of May, ruling him out of Germany’s Euro 2016 campaign, and he could miss the first month of the season.

“Of course it’s not ideal but I have to accept it,” added the former Nuremberg player. “Right now the target is end of August or start of September, but it is always difficult to say a special date.

“We have to see the development, but at the moment everything looks really good.”

City face Sunderland at home on the first day of the new Premier League season on 13 August.


BBC Sport’s Simon Stone at Etihad Stadium

“There are questions for Guardiola as he takes his first tentative steps in England, specifically whether his famed tiki-taka style of passing football can overcome the physical nature of the Premier League.

“But in front of 7,000 enthusiastic fans, this was not a day to ask them.

“And, evidently, he has a way with words. He said: ‘I need to know my players. I have to hug them, kick their bottoms (or words to that effect).’ The fans lapped it up.

“He even responded to a question yelled from below him about the prospect of signing Lionel Messi – not much apparently.

“It was all good fun, the kind of event City are good at doing. The real work starts on Monday of course, when the training begins.

“Guardiola has the reputation. He has the personality. But in the ultimate results business, he also has to win.”

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Pep Guardiola was caught off-guard by some of the onstage celebrations for his arrival and the launch of City’s new badge and kit
Man City fans greet Pep Guardiola<!–

Around 7,000 fans came out to greet Guardiola
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City striker Kelechi Iheanacho said Guardiola would bring “a new dimension” to the team

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