As Manchester City celebrates 10 years of Sheikh Mansour’s takeover, their manager Pep Guardiola used the opportunity to address the press and made somethings known about himself.
‘I love my job,’ says Guardiola, fiddling with a plastic bottle cap on his desk. ‘I am a Latin guy. I express my feelings, so people know exactly how I feel just by looking at my face.
‘It’s easy to understand me. I love my job, I put all of myself into it and I try to do my best. I don’t want to lose.’
‘No, no, I want to win,’ he says. ‘That phrase, “beautiful football”, I don’t use that. Never. So, I want to win but from my experience the best way, and the way I believe brings us closest to winning, is the way we play.
‘We want to express ourselves and sometimes when it happens it is attractive for the people that are watching, but to play in that way you need talented players. Without that, it’s not possible to achieve what we achieved. So, we need quality, but what I want is to win.’
He points out that people believe he just wants to attack, but his defensive records show he doesn’t just attack but defends well
‘No, no, no,’ he says. ‘I’m not romantic or aesthetic. In the period since 2008 or 2009, always our teams were the best defensive team in the league. Just one season we were not. And for that you have to work a lot defensively. But when you talk about beautiful football, you are not talking about this kind of thing.’
‘The way we want to play with the ball,’ he explains, ‘is because I believe that all of the players decided once in their life, when they were kids playing football, that they enjoyed playing with the ball.’
Guardiola did point out that just having the ball didn’t win him a trophy in his first year
‘It was the first time I did not win one title in a season,’ he says, ‘and the expectation was so high. We didn’t accomplish our goals and always you reflect. Are we going in the right direction, or do you have to change something? I felt the club, the people here, the staff, all the people who surround me, said, “It’s OK. It’s going to be well”.
‘I didn’t feel anything was wrong. We understood it was part of the process. Sometimes you [snaps fingers] get it quicker, sometimes you need more time.’
‘Football is not a process, it’s not a finished business. Of course, in the middle of the first season we realised that we were an old team. Magnificent players, but we were an old team, that lacked a little bit of energy, and that’s why we invested last season. This season we’re going to invest less. Much, much less.’
Guardiola doesn’t think about the trophies he has won as he believes he has more fun developing winning strategies and cajoling players to execute them
‘Normally, the trophies only count to give you more time to continue to work, and to express more of your ideas,’ he says. ‘Titles help you to win time. Time to keep going if you want to stay. But, a title for itself?’
“Oh, how many seasons have I won?” That doesn’t make me happy. I’m not the guy who goes to… I don’t know, the bank… to see how many I have.’
‘That is the reason we are managers,’ he says. ‘The convincing them, the seducing them, the tactics we want to play, the way we want to play. I am a manager for that — for the tactics, for understanding the game. It is chess.’
‘How we do what we do to win. Trophies also help to make the brand, Manchester City, stronger around the world, and that is so important for stability. It is important for the players. A lot of players hadn’t won anything and we were able to win the Premier League. It was amazing for me too. It was a dream to win the Premier League but after two or three weeks, I say, “OK, now we are thinking about the next one”.
‘That’s life. That’s sport. The difference is the way we did it, and how consistently we can do it in the future.’