Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola insists he has no problems reigniting his rivalry with Jose Mourinho in the Premier League next season.
Guardiola was Barcelona Coach when Mourinho led Inter and then Real Madrid between 2009 and 2012, with the Portuguese widely said to have had the last laugh, but the 45-year-old made it clear his old foe’s new residence at Manchester United only served to motivate him.
“I don’t know [if this is my hardest task],” he began at his first Press conference as City manager on Friday.
“Maybe when I took over the second team from Barcelona it was harder because if I failed in that moment my career would be finished, of course Barcelona we did amazing, like Bayern Munich.
“You have to win every day, every day and every day. I know how difficult here in England what I saw in the past three, four or five years.
“To find a team to win four, five, six games in a row is not easy. All the people talk about that. All the managers that have more experience than me in England talk about that. Maybe that is the challenge. To try to be more consistent in our game.
“But I think my career, always the people are going to demand of my teams. The way we are going to train to try to win as much as possible. At the end that is good. It’s better to live with that pressure than to live ‘okay, if we win it’s okay, if we don’t win it’s okay as well.
“You have to understand our body language, maybe we’ll not be able to win. Maybe we are not going to win every day but we are going to try. When it doesn’t happen something is going to happen. That is the most important thing to change.
“[On playing his famed style in the PL], that’s why I’m here. To prove myself. I was in Barcelona where I had absolutely everything, the best player ever and one team where most of the players grew up from the academy so I knew them.
“Bayern Munich, a club who have a lot of experience as well for many, many things. Here is another test for my career. It would’ve been comfortable to stay where I was, I feel that it is the right moment to come here and prove myself.
“If I’m able to convince these players the way we want, and show a level at the end then we’ll see. If it’s not going well, we’re ready to prepare what’s going to happen.
“I love to work with the young players. In Barcelona I was lucky, I started in the second team and when I was promoted to the first team I knew all the players from the second and third teams. That helped me a lot.
“I knew when I spoke with Txiki [Begiristain], they are working the last years very, very well in that sense.
“[On Javier Mascherano saying it took a year to adapt to his style of play], Javier Mascherano is so humble. That is not true. He achieved what we wanted immediately. Javier is one of the most intelligent players I’ve ever seen in my career.
“Sometimes you will speak with the players, you want to make an idea or concept but before you’ve finished he already understands. There are not many, but Javier is one of them.
“At the end what we want is so simple; when the opponent has the ball, take it back as quick as possible.
“When we have the ball try to move as quick possible, to create as much chances as possible. That’s all. And good team spirit. That is my target in my next life here in Manchester.
“I’ll need a bit of time to discover the style of play here. I think it’ll be more physical, I need to speak to English people at the club, like Mikel Arteta, Brian Kidd, everybody here says it’s very physical, which conditions how you play. I think halfway through the season I can answer that question.
“I think at every stage I’ve had a big challenge. It could be the biggest because City haven’t won as many titles as Barca or Bayern, but I can’t answer. The challenge is trying your best to prove yourself.
“Mikel Arteta is one of the best central midfielders there have been, he’s helping me get to know the football.
“We’ve been studying what the Premier League means, how we defend, how we attack, he’s [Arteta] got 12 or 13 years between Scotland and here, he knows what Boxing Day means. I won’t make any decisions before talking with him.
“I brought in the guys from Barcelona and Munich, I know their abilities, it’s all about getting to know the PL, what English football means and what the players can do.
“[On Mourinho], I don’t see it as a question. He wants to win, I want to win, we know each other pretty well from before at Barcelona. I think it’s great that top managers are here, big managers take me as a manager to a different level.
“Competing with them takes me to another level, they push you to win things like the Champions League. And then you find out if you’re big enough of capable enough of running teams like Barca, Madrid, Bayern, like Manchester City, but I’ve only just started here.”