SHENZHEN, China — Pep Guardiola has warned his Manchester City players they won’t even train with the first team if they’re not in top shape.
The new City boss, who is well known for his attention to detail, has told his players they must cut out all bad food such as pizzas and chips.
Guardiola took intense training sessions in Manchester shortly after taking over to get his players ready for the new season although it hasn’t been as severe in China because of the hot and humid weather.
But City defender Gael Clichy revealed that some players have already fallen victim of the tough new regime.
“On the field, outside the field, every detail counts,” the Frenchman told reporters. “For example, you often hear managers say being healthy is really important. With him, if your weight is too high, you’re not training with the team.
“You hear it a lot but for my part it’s the first time any manager has really done it. So we have a few players who are not training with the team yet.”
Many of Guardiola’s former players at Barcelona and Bayern Munich speak highly of his methods and credit the Catalan coach with improving their game.
And, after just a few weeks in charge, he is already building up a strong bond with his City players.
“I think he’s an ideal manager for any kind of player.” added Clichy. “The goalkeeper needs to be better with their feet, the centre-backs are improving, the fullbacks are important.
“The centre midfield — he said something like ‘if he could play 11 midfielders, he would play them’ so I guess for a midfielder it’s unbelievable.
“And the strikers are going to score a lot of goals because we are going to create a lot of chances.
“I can even tell you that the assistant manager will improve so he’s the kind of guy that, if you’re lucky to work with him during your career, he is someone you will remember for a long time because he’s truly impressive.
“He just wants us to trust him, he wants to trust us and I think it’s the right way to start a relationship. That’s not the reason we’re going to win things. The reason we’re going to win things — if we do — is by working hard and he’s making sure we are working hard.
“It’s only a few weeks into preseason but I’m pretty sure it’s going to be a good year.”
Guardiola demands a lot from his full-backs to supplement attacks and currently all of his four main options — Clichy, Aleksander Kolarov, Bacary Sagna and Pablo Zabaleta are in their 30s.
Clichy, who turned 31 on Tuesday, said it’s up to them to show Guardiola that they are up to the task.
“We’re into our 30s but we do as much work as the youngsters,” said the former Arsenal defender. “I would talk more about the quality and he likes players to be composed on the ball. And that’s for him to decide if we are good enough or not.
“What we can say is we’re working hard like everybody else and those that will be lucky to stay here will have an amazing season because he’s a coach that gives a lot of energy on and off the field and, for my side, it’s been incredible for the last three weeks.”