‘Pep can change English football’
SHENZEN — Pep Guardiola can revolutionise English football at Manchester City — just like Arsene Wenger did 20 years ago.
Arsenal boss Wenger is credited with transforming the outlook of English football, introducing a more cultured approach to coaching and playing.
City defender Gael Clichy played for Wenger at Arsenal for eight years and has already seen enough in three weeks under his new boss Guardiola to believe he can have a similar impact to his former boss.
“I’ve trained only a few weeks with Guardiola and I was eight years with Wenger,” said full-back Clichy .
“There are a lot of similarities between the two, but also so much difference.
“In eight or nine years, Guardiola has won pretty much everything and he’s changed the way we see football. He was probably one of the first to bring the full-backs really high, to put a midfield player as a centre-back.
“Wenger, years ago, brought something back from wherever he was into English football and kind of changed the way people see football.
“I guess the two of them are just great managers, but you could say the same for Sir Alex Ferguson and Jose Mourinho.
“Every manager has their own philosophy and for sure he’s coming with his own ideas and it’s quite refreshing for us.”
Clichy admitted Guardiola, who won two Champions League crowns and three La Liga titles at Barcelona, before moving to Bayern Munich and delivering the Bundesliga crown in all three of his seasons in charge, had given City’s players a huge lift.
“Any manager who comes into a new club brings an energy,” said Clichy. “Instead of giving 100 percent you give 110 per cent just because it’s a new manager and you need to show yourself.
“But of course he’s bringing something different, he’s bringing something he’s been doing with Barcelona and Munich.
“It’s been really exciting for the last three weeks and I can see that we’re going to improve as a team and so many players are going to improve individually. Hopefully it will bring success to the club because, in the end, that’s what he’s here for.
“We’re working hard 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, from my side, it’s been incredible for the last three weeks.”
Guardiola has wasted no time in ensuring his players understand his philosophy, with Clichy admitting every player has been told to raise their game to a new level under the 45-year-old.
The new City boss has even told first-choice goalkeeper Joe Hart he needs to improve his ball-control and distribution with his feet, according to Clichy.
“I think he’s an ideal manager for any kind of player,” said the defender. “The goalkeeper needs to be better with their feet, the centre-backs are improving and the full-backs are important.
“In central 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’re going to create a lot of chances.”
Clichy admitted City’s players allowed their standards to drop in Manuel Pellegrini ’s last season in charge, scraping fourth spot and a Champions League qualifying place ahead of Manchester United on goal difference.
But the 31-year-old admitted Guardiola will not allow them to go the same way this season, given his exacting standards and refusal to accept anything less the maximum from his squad.
“Perhaps when you spend more time, after two years the levels drop a little bit,” said Clichy.
“But it’s not the case that it was Pellegrini’s fault. In fact, it was probably the players’ fault, because that’s human — as soon as you’ve been in the place for a few years, you unconsciously drop a little bit. — The Mirror