Pep Guardiola is widely regarded as one of the best managers in modern football. After successful stints with Barcelona and Bayern Munich, the Catalan manager is now ready to take on a new challenge at Manchester City.
Guardiola tempered expectations in the pre-match press conference ahead of the Citizens’ opening fixture against Sunderland on Saturday. The ex-Bayern Munich manager stated that it would take time for his ultimate plans for City to unfold, but he expects him team to play with passion and soul from day one of his tenure.
“To create something you need time, to create ideas to attack, but for soul we don’t need time,” said Guardiola, according to the official club website.
“Tomorrow I don’t know if we’re going to play good but I won’t accept if we don’t play with soul. We play tomorrow from the first day. That’s what I’m looking for from our team. I want our fans in the Etihad to see that. I want my players to play their football with pleasure inside.”
Guardiola has made a number of high profile signings, with Manchester City spending almost £150 million on transfers this summer. The likes of Ilkay Gundogan from Borussia Dortmund, Leroy Sane from Schalke, Nolito from Celta Vigo and most recently John Stones from Everton, have all joined City in high-profile moves to be a part of the Guardiola project.
The Catalan manager’s first competitive fixture is against Sunderland, who have a new manager of their own in David Moyes. It is a relatively straightforward introduction to the Premier League for Guardiola, with the Black Cats travelling to the Etihad Stadium as massive underdogs. It will be interesting to see how City line up under Guardiola and his starting eleven could be a strong portent for many of the Man City players who face an uncertain future under the former Barcelona manager.