Pep Guardiola gives exclusive interview to mark launch of adidas Gamedayplus
I'm a lucky guy to be here, to give me this opportunity. I will try to do my best. I did my best in Barcelona and I will try to do here. After we will see…
Would you see Manchester City as your strongest opponent in the group, is that fair to say?
Manchester City has a super, super coach and I know him very well, Pellegrini. Their Director of Sport Txiki Bergiristain is (one of) the more special persons of my life. He gave me the challenge to train the second team of Barcelona and after that the first team and I think he's one of the smartest guys in football around the world.
City have struggled so far in the Champions League, do you expect that to be different now?
This season they are so focused 100% to qualify for the next round and they have top, top players.
What do you think about the English teams in general, how do you expect them to fare in the Champions League?
Normally when the English teams don't arrive in the semi-finals or the final they say 'oh there's a crisis in the Premier League'. When that happens in Spain, 'oh Spain is down' and when that happens in Germany, when they don't get to the quarter-finals, the semi-final the people say that the football in Germany is not good. That is normal but in my opinion, always the English teams from the Premier League is always top.
What about other teams in the Champions League, who do you think will be a surprise package?
There are many teams, I think the big teams who have the ability to handle both competitions is the strongest teams. They can do it, Barcelona can do it, United can do it. Juve I think so too, they have won the last two Italian leagues and I'm pretty sure they are focused on this year. I think they are the big, big names, the big clubs in the world, they can handle both competitions.
Let's talk about some of the players. Philipp Lahm, for example, you said is one of the most intelligent players you've worked with…
He understands the game. Philipp can play in all positions. That shows me how intelligent he is. Football is a game when people move and you have to decide in one second what is going on in your position and all around the field and he decides in the right moment 'you must run'.