Guardi­ola made us un­der­stand foot­ball dif­fer­ently, says Pique

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPORTS -

BARCELONA de­fender Gerard Pique paid tribute to the en­dur­ing in­flu­ence of Pep Guardi­ola, say­ing he made play­ers un­der­stand foot­ball dif­fer­ently, as he pre­pared to face his for­mer coach in the Cham­pi­ons League match against Manchester City.

Guardi­ola re-signed Barca academy grad­u­ate Pique (car­i­ca­ture) from Manchester United in 2008 and the pair won 14 tro­phies to­gether in four un­for­get­table sea­sons be­fore coach quit in 2012.

“I think Pep had an im­pact on ev­ery­one who played un­der him in those four years. I think there was a be­fore and af­ter with Guardi­ola, we un­der­stand foot­ball dif­fer­ently now and he changed the club’s his­tory,” Pique told a news con­fer­ence on Tues­day.

Barcelona have won all four com­pet­i­tive games against City, knock­ing them out of the Cham­pi­ons League in the round of 16 in 2014 and 2015, and the two sides met against last night in Group C.

But Pique be­lieves the Pre­mier League lead­ers are a dif­fer­ent propo­si­tion un­der Guardi­ola.

“Pep is in charge now and he’s changed the way they see and play foot­ball, which makes it a chal­lenge for us,” he said.

“They play sim­i­larly to us, we will try to use our strengths and dom­i­nate the ball, but we know City will press and play sim­i­larly to us. It will be dif­fi­cult to get the ball and it it’s a good chal­lenge to demon­strate we’re still on top.”

The 29-year-old also re­it­er­ated his de­ci­sion to quit in­ter­na­tional foot­ball af­ter the 2018 World Cup and re­vealed he had con­sid­ered re­tir­ing af­ter Spain’s fail­ure at the 2014 World Cup and a tro­phy-less sea­son with Barcelona.

“I spoke to peo­ple and said I didn’t want to con­tinue, but coaches con­vinced me to change my mind. I didn’t feel mo­ti­vated, per­haps be­cause I had won so much so young,” added Pique, who has won the World Cup, the Euro­pean Cham­pi­onship, three Cham­pi­ons League and six La Liga ti­tles. “But with (coach) Luis En­rique giv­ing us more and be­cause I felt com­fort­able in the club and the na­tional team, I re­alised I had to come back.” Luis En­rique, a for­mer team­mate of Guardi­ola with Barca and Spain, echoed Pique’s com­ments about the cur­rent City man­ager. “I can’t say if he’s the best coach ever but I’m sure he’s go­ing to be one of the best, some­one who de­fined an era.” – Reuters

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malaysia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.