Pep Guardiola has said he took charge of Manchester City to prove he can deliver beautiful football in the Premier League.
Guardiola established a reputation for the quality of his football during his time in charge of Barcelona and Bayern Munich and won trophies including two Champions Leagues, three La Liga titles and three Bundesliga titles.
Upon taking charge of Barca’s senior side in 2008 after a year with the B team, he had said at his first news conference at the Camp Nou: “I don’t know if we’ll win, but we’ll persist. Fasten your seatbelts — you are going to enjoy the ride.”
Asked what message he would send to the City fans, he joked: “Fasten your seatbelts — for the other side of the car.”
However, Guardiola accepts he is facing a new challenge in the Premier League.
He had already said after announcing his departure from Bayern in the winter that he was leaving because he wanted to test himself in England.
Asked whether he would be able to implement his trademark playing style week in, week out, in the more physical Premier League, he replied: “That’s why I’m here. To prove. To prove myself that I can adapt.”
He highlighted the fact that in 2012 he had walked away from Barca “where I had virtually everything, the best player ever,” and then left Bayern, who had won four league titles in succession.
“Here is another test for my career. It would have been comfortable to stay where I was but I feel this is the right moment to move here,” he said.
He said he did not know whether it was the toughest task he had faced in his career but accepts that, having previously taken charge of clubs that are able to dominate their leagues, it could be tougher.
“I know how difficult it is here in England — to find a team to win four, five, six games in a row is not easy,” he said. “Maybe that’s the challenge.”
He also has very limited experience of English football and, looking ahead to his first Premier League fixture against Sunderland on Aug. 13, said: “I will need a bit of time to discover what style of play it is here.
“I think it will be more physical. People say it’s not as attractive but I can’t say that. Hopefully later in the season I will be able to explain a bit better.
“I never played one game in the Premier League but I am pretty sure it will be different to Germany or Spain.
“Against Sunderland, against Big Sam [Allardyce], in the first one, I am sure it will be completely different.”
Former Everton and Arsenal midfielder Mikel Arteta has joined City’s coaching staff while Brian Kidd has stayed on as an assistant coach, and Guardiola said they should be able to give him some insight.
“I’ll talk to Brian Kidd and Arteta to learn more,” he said. Kidd is helping me get to know the players. Arteta is one of the best midfielders there’s been and he knows English football.”