Pep lays down the law

Lesotho Times - - Sport - — AFP

MANCH­ESTER — Pep G Guardi­ola ( pic­tured) has warned his Manch­ester City play­ers tha that they have to prove them­selves all over again fol­low­ing his ar­rivalar­riv at the club.

The for­mer Barcelona and Bay­ern Mu­nich coach was mak­ing his first pub­lic ap­peara ap­pear­ance as City han­dler on Sun­day in front of thou­sands of fans at a fes­ti­val held at their Acad­emy Sta­dium.

The Spa­nia Spa­niard is al­ready fa­mil­iar with the play­ers he is in­her­it­ing,in­her­it­ing hav­ing faced his new club in Cham­pi­ons League con­testscon in two of his three sea­sons at Bay­ern Mu­nich.

In ad­dit ad­di­tion, the new man­ager has also been able to glean in­for­ma­tion­in­form on the squad from direc­tor of foot­ball Txiki Be­giris­tain, a close friend go­ing back to their days to­gether as Barcelona play play­ers.

Guardi­ola has also mo moved quickly to bring in new tal­ent, sign­ing Ger­man mid­fielder Ilka Ilkay Gun­do­gan from Borus­sia Dort­mund for 20mil­lion and Spain win winger Nolito from Celta Vigo for 13.8mil­lion.

But he in­sists that all of his play­ers are start­ing with a clean slate - re­gard­less of what they have achieved in the past.

Guardi­ola also said he had no in­ten­tion of ditch­ing the meth­ods that brought him suc­cess in Spain and Ger­many and wants to prove it is pos­si­ble to win in the Pre­mier League by play­ing at­trac­tive foot­ball.

Guardi­ola won two C Cham­pi­ons League tro­phies, three La Liga ti­tles and two King’s Cu Cup crowns as Barcelona coach be­fore two do­mes­tic dou­bles fol­lowed at Bay­ern Mu­nich.

“I have no pre­con­cep­tion­spre­con­cept at all about com­ing to Eng­land or the foot­ball in the Pre­mier L League. I want to learn as much as pos­si­ble,” he said in an in­ter­view o on Ci­tytv on Sun­day.

“I have an idea of how we will play, but when I ar­rived in Ger­many with Bay­ern Muni Mu­nich, I had some ideas of how the team would play but changed them a as I went along.

“I know how hard the Pre­mier League is and some peo­ple have said that I will find it ha hard to play the foot­ball I like to play in Eng­land, so I said to my­self my­self, ‘Why not?’ That’s why I’m here - be­cause I want to try.

“We have to find a wa way to win and if we win one game, the next week we will say, ‘OK, let’sle try and do the same things this week’ - and if we win again, we’ we’ll say, ‘let’s do the things that won us those two games’ and so on,” h he said.

“I’ve been told it will b be hard to do that in the Pre­mier League but we did it at Barcelona an and Bay­ern Mu­nich and peo­ple may say, ‘Yes, that’s be­cause it was Ba Barcelona and Bay­ern - it won’t be pos­si­ble to do that in Eng­land’ and I just say OK, let’s try.”

Guardi­ola also spoke a about the City play­ers and what they should ex­pect.

“I know them. I have played against Manch­ester City in the last two or three years many times. I know their qual­ity but they have to show me, show the fa fans again. The past is the past. The peo­ple don’t come here to re­mem re­mem­ber what we did. We are here to try again.”

Guardi­ola has in­di­cat in­di­cated that he will not seek to in­flame a lon­grun­ning ri­valry with JoseJ Mour­inho, who took charge of City’s neigh­bours Manch­ester United in late May.

The two man­agers we were in­volved in a num­ber of pub­lic ver­bal con­fronta­tions in the tw two years be­tween Mour­inho’s ar­rival at Real Madrid in 2010 and Gua Guardi­ola’s de­par­ture from Barcelona in 2012, where he was a solid pla play­maker and club cap­tain.

That ri­valry reached its low point dur­ing a Span­ish Su­per Cup meet­ing in 2011, when Mour­inho was cap­tured on cam­era pok­ing Guardi­ola’s then-as­sista then-as­sis­tant Tito Vi­lanova in the eye dur­ing a touch­line brawl.

The north west of Engl Eng­land will host sev­eral of foot­ball’s big man­age­rial names next seaso sea­son, with Jur­gen Klopp in place at Liver­pool and Ron­ald Koe­man in charge at Ever­ton, but Guardi­ola in­sists that the fo­cus should be on the play­ers.

“The peo­ple don’t come­com to see who the man­ager is, they come to see how good our player play­ers are. I don’t think just that’s just the case this year, but in the pas past as well, with Klopp, with Conte, with Ranieri, Mour­inho, Po­chett Po­chet­tino, Koe­man. The rea­son I work here is just to help the play­ers.”

Guardi­ola also laughe laughed off sug­ges­tions that he was about to make an at­tempt to bring fiv five-time world foot­baller of the year Lionel Messi to City.

The Barcelona for­war for­ward, who re­tired from in­ter­na­tional foot­ball last week, won two of his four Cham­pi­ons League ti­tles when Guardi­ola was the club’s man man­ager.

But asked about the pos­si­bil­i­typo of a re­u­nion in Manch­ester, Guardi­ola said: “He is not a b bad player, this guy. But I am sorry - Messi has to stay in Barcelona for the rest of his ca­reer.”

Mean­while, for­mer Arse­nalAr mid­fielder Mikel Arteta con­firmed on Sun­day he had ac­cepted a coach­ing role un­der Guardi­ola.

The 34-year-old Span Spa­niard is re­tir­ing af­ter a five-year stint with the Gun­ners, dur­ing whi which time he won two FA Cups.

“Fol­low­ing re­cent me­di­amed spec­u­la­tion sur­round­ing my fu­ture I can con­firm that I will be le leav­ing Arse­nal and re­tir­ing from play­ing to take up a coach­ing posi po­si­tion at Manch­ester City,” Arteta wrote on Twit­ter.

“I’ve en­joyed an amaz amaz­ing five years at Arse­nal and it’s been an hon­our and a priv­i­lege t to cap­tain such a great club.

“I am now look­ing forw for­ward to the chal­lenge ahead at Manch­ester City. The op­por­tu­nity to join Pep Guardi­ola and his team was an amaz­ing one for me and I am in­cred­i­bly ex­cited for the fu­ture.”

Arteta be­gan his ca­reer­care at Span­ish gi­ants Barcelona and had spells at Paris Saint-ge Saint-ger­main, Rangers and Real So­ciedad be­fore mov­ing to Ever­ton in 20 2005, and Arse­nal in 2011.

“Through­out my care ca­reer I have al­ways been in­ter­ested in more than just the play­ing sid side and have had a pas­sion for help­ing progress and de­velop the tea team out­side of just my own role as a player,” added Arteta, who has b been trou­bled by in­juries in re­cent sea­sons.

“Coach­ing has al­ways been some­thing I’ve been keen to go in to and over the past few ye years I’ve worked hard off the pitch as well as on it to de­velop my skill skills in or­der to put me in a po­si­tion to be able to pur­sue a coach­ing role once I fin­ished play­ing.” Guardi­ola’s first m match since tak­ing over from Manuel Pel­le­grini as City man man­ager will be against Manch­ester United in a pre-sea­son tourn tour­na­ment in China on July 25.

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