‘Guardiola will transform Man City’
XABI Alonso, the Bayern Munich midfielder, says Manchester City’s players will receive a footballing education under the command of Pep Guardiola.
Alonso has spent the last two years under the Spanish visionary at The Allianz Arena, and has promised his compatriot’s understanding of the game will utterly change his new squad’s perception of how to play.
“Pep’s training is very different and the players will have to get used to how he likes to talk to them,” said Alonso.
“He wants to give players the tools to be better. Part of this is the anticipation of what is going to happen in the game. He wants you to think more about the game. He taught me so much in two years and he makes you understand even more about football. I learnt a lot from him and if the City players are open-minded and listen to Pep they will learn from playing under him as well and become better players because of working for him.”
Alonso, who faced City in Bayern’s 1-0 friendly win on Wednesday, said Guardiola’s meticulousness is what separates him from other coaches he has worked for.
“It is an emphasis on the details around football that he focuses on, the smallest of things,” said Alonso. ”As a midfielder it was perfect for me because he was also a midfielder, so I could learn a lot from him.
“He thinks a lot about the game and wants to give the solutions to the players and for the players to feel the solutions for themselves so they can perform better. That is a great help as a player.”
The question has been raised as to whether Guardiola’s purist approach can be successfully applied in England. Alonso is sure he’ll succeed, but warned there are sure to be teething troubles due to the culture shock.
“I have no doubt he will be able to impose how he sees football and how he wants his team to play,” said Alonso. ”For sure it will take time but because he is so thorough and he is such a great worker and analytical and he will manage.
“The Premier League is very different from the Bundesliga and La Liga. The pace is different and physically it is very different, but maybe it has also changed a lot more since my time. He will need to adapt for certain games, that is for sure. From my time there I remember you have to think differently when you go to West Brom, to Stoke and to Sunderland.”
As one of the few who have had the privilege to work with Guardiola and Jose Mourinho, Alonso is well placed to judge what could be the defining duel in this year’s title race.
Alonso played for Mourinho at Real Madrid and he says both managers’ potent combination of style and substance will make for a riveting Premier League season.
“What you get with both is huge charisma and leadership,” says Alonso. ”They are both very similar in that they are hard workers and extremely ambitious. On the football side, they have different approaches and style.
“I have big respect for them both. There is always a lot of hype around them – that is what they come to expect because they are big coaches in difficult jobs which brings a lot pressure – but it was a privilege working with both of them. I have a great relationship with them.
“It is going to be very exciting to watch them this season, especially in the same city now. It is a challenge for both to be against each other. I am definitely going to be watching it from Germany and keeping my eye on what is happening.”
City defender Gael Clichy says the players are already noticing a difference under Guardiola’s management.
“In a short period of time, he’s shown us how great he is,” said Clichy. ”We don’t want to say too much because one manager isn’t going to change the whole club, but of course he’s going to change a lot of things.
“It’s fresh and he has new ideas. For sure, we want to win every game, but in the end we are here to learn from him.” – Telegraph.