Pep eager to face Jose, Conte, Klopp, ‘the Big Sam’

Date published: Friday 8th July 2016 2:28

Jose Mourinho Pep Guardiola Football365

Pep Guardiola has discussed his rivalry with Jose Mourinho, as well as future battles with Antonio Conte and “the Big Sam”.

Guardiola oversaw his first press conference as Manchester City manager on Friday, and issued a defence of Raheem Sterling.

The Spaniard was also asked about the standard of coaches he will face in the Premier League, including previous bitter rival Jose Mourinho.

The two had previously locked horns in fiery El Clasico encounters in Spain, when Guardiola was in charge of Barcelona and Mourinho held the reins at Real Madrid, and the former thinks trying to outmanoeuvre the best coaches in the world has brought the best out of him.

The Portuguese took over city rivals United earlier this summer, and the two add to a league of managerial heavyweights already consisting of Arsene Wenger, Mauricio Pochettino and Alan Pardew.

“I don’t see it as a question,” Guardiola said when asked on Mourinho. “We’re both here, Jose and I. He wants to win, I want to win. We know each other pretty well.

“It’s not about him or me. It’s doesn’t matter about the team, it’s so difficult to win here.

“What I saw from the distance is it is so tough to win the games here. We played many times against each other. I can say, they help me, the big coaches, and Jose is one of them, they help me to reach another level.

“My experience against him, against Jurgen Klopp at Dortmund, a lot of coaches in Germany and Spain they made me better. All the managers in the world want to win and we are going to try and win as well.”

The Spaniard then name-checked two other managers – Sam Allardyce of Sunderland and Chelsea’s Conte.

“Against Sunderland, against the Big Sam, I will play my first Premier League game. I will have to adapt,” Guardiola said, before adding on Conte: “He is a master tactician. It’s going to be very interesting competing against him.”

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