Manchester City’s new head coach had a fractious relationship with the Portuguese when he was in charge of Barcelona and Mourinho led Real Madrid. Yet despite the two now working in the same city at clubs who are fierce enemies Guardiola is not concerned about Mourinho’s presence.
He said: “They help me, the big coaches, and José is one of them; they help me to reach another level. My experience against him, against [Jürgen] Klopp at Dortmund, they made me better. All the managers in the world want to win. José said pretty well that it is not about him or me. The other one is going to win so what I saw from the distance is it is so tough to win the games here but we played many times against each other.”
Guardiola is in the second official week of his City tenure. He stated that despite coaching Barça and Bayern Munich his new club may provide his biggest test.
“Every stage is a big challenge,” he said. “It could be the biggest because City have not won as many titles as Barcelona or Bayern but I can’t answer. Maybe when you took over the second team from Barcelona [in 2007] it was the hardest because if I failed in that moment my career would be finished.
“We have to win every day. I see how difficult it is in England to find a team to win four, five, six games in a row. All the people talk about that. Maybe that is the challenge, to try to be more consistent in our game, but I think in my career people are always going to demand [success of] my teams … but in the end that is good. It is better to live under that pressure so I think you have to understand, maybe we will not be able to win, maybe we will not win every day but we are going to try and that is the important thing to change in our play.”
Guardiola again defended Raheem Sterling, after calling the forward during England’s Euro 2016 campaign to offer support. The Catalan said the 21-year-old could be weighed down because of his £49m transfer fee.
“Sterling, of course, he has a little problem with the money they paid and that is in the mind of the people but I am encouraged,” Guardiola said. “And I am looking forward to work with him and show him how good a player he is and not just him – Joe Hart and the other English players.
“In Barcelona the basis was Catalan players, in Bayern the basis was German and I would like to work with English players here but they are so expensive.”
Guardiola sold Yaya Touré to City from Barcelona in the summer of 2010. The 33-year-old’s future as a first choice is in the balance. Asked if he could get the best from the Ivorian, Guardiola said: “Not just Yaya but everybody. I know Yaya from a long time. He did very well in Barcelona and here as well. He is a huge star and all the players who are here now come to me. After that, we will see what happens. Yaya is here, I connect to him.”
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