Football: Eric Abidal says Man City players have to adapt to Guardiola's ideas to succeed

Former Barcelona defender Eric Abidal believes it is only a matter of time before Pep Guardiola (above) succeeds at the Etihad Stadium.
Former Barcelona defender Eric Abidal believes it is only a matter of time before Pep Guardiola (above) succeeds at the Etihad Stadium. PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - Manchester City's inconsistent displays this season has seen manager Pep Guardiola play down his team's title chances.

But former Barcelona defender Eric Abidal believes it is only a matter of time before Guardiola succeeds at the Etihad Stadium.

The Frenchman, who played under the tactician at Barcelona for six years, said: "The coach has to adapt to the players, the league but the players also have to adapt to the coach.

"If you don't like mathematics, you will never do well at it in school. Tactically, Guardiola is one of the best coaches in the world. He needs time to put in place his project but for sure with all his ideas and philosophy he will win trophies with Manchester City.

"That's why they hire him."

Guardiola has so far endured a topsy-turvy debut season in the English Premier League. While the team won its first six league fixtures, injuries and a loss of form have seen City slump to fifth in the table on 42 points, 10 points behind leaders Chelsea.

Abidal, 37, was speaking at the unveiling of a four-year partnership between Nestle Milo and Barcelona.

The deal aims to launch initiatives promoting healthy living and an active lifestyle among children worldwide. Milo reaches out to around 22 million children every year through its grassroots programme.

In Singapore, a new tournament for children aged 6-14 will be launched this year. The best players from this competition, called the Milo Cup, will get a chance to train in Barcelona.

Local football legend Fandi Ahmad is the Milo Cup's ambassador and is on the judging panel.

Abidal, who was diagnosed with a tumour in 2011 and survived a liver transplant in 2012 to continue playing, said: "When you have good health, you don't know how lucky you are. Milo and Barcelona are a good match and they are sending an important message about being healthy."