Football: City players start on clean slate, says Pep Guardiola

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola is presented to the fans.
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola is presented to the fans.PHOTO: REUTERS

MANCHESTER • Pep Guardiola has warned his Manchester City players that they have to prove themselves all over again following his arrival at the club.

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

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

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

Guardiola has also moved quickly to bring in new talent, signing German midfielder Ilkay Gundogan from Borussia Dortmund for £20 million (S$25.73 million) and Spain winger Nolito from Celta Vigo for £13.8 million.

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

Guardiola said: "I know them. I have played against Manchester City many times in the last two or three years. I spoke many times with Txiki too.

"I know them, I know their quality but they have to show me, show the fans again. The past is the past. The people don't come here to remember what we did. We are here to try again."

Guardiola has indicated that he will not seek to inflame a long-running rivalry with Jose Mourinho, who took charge of City's neighbours Manchester United in May.

The north-west of England will host several of football's big managerial names next 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 come to see who the manager is, they come to see how good our players are. I don't think just that's just the case this year, but in the past as well, with Klopp, with (Antonio) Conte, with (Claudio) Ranieri, Mourinho, (Mauricio) Pochettino, Koeman. The reason I work here is just to help the players."

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 04, 2016, with the headline 'City players start on clean slate: Pep'. Print Edition | Subscribe