London, Aug 8 (IANS) Newly-signed Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola “is one of the few people who can change English football”, according to former Fc Barcelona captain Xavi Hernandez.
Guardiola — who is the subject of a new documentary titled “Pep” about how he has revolutionised the game — took over at City after the conclusion of the last season.
Guardiola had previously spent three seasons in charge at German champions Bayern Munich, during which time he won three consecutive Bundesliga titles, and four campaigns at the helm of his boyhood club FC Barcelona.
It was during his four seasons managing at Barcelona that Guardiola first made his name as a coach, with the 45-year-old guiding the La Liga club to three titles and two Champions Leagues in that time.
However, Guardiola’s move to coach in the English Premier League is expected to represent the greatest test of his nine-year managerial career, although it is one his former skippers Xavi believes he will pass with flying colours.
“Joan Vila, who was my mentor at Barcelona’s academy, told me: ‘Boy, soak up everything you can from Pep,'” Xavi was quoted as saying in the ‘Pep’ documentary, reports Sky Sports.
“His first touch, how he turns his head before receiving the ball, when he is under pressure, when he has space, his changes of rhythm, how he uses both feet to control the ball. He changed world football. He did not just change Barcelona, he changed world football. I think he is one of the few people who can change English football,” the midfielder who currently plays for Qatari club Al Sadd SC said.
Guardiola began his coaching career with Barcelona’s second team in 2007, before taking over the first team the following year.
And it was there that Guardiola first made his impact on the likes of Xavi and company.
“The first thing I remember him saying as a coach was that he would not tolerate any player not working hard. This was a surprise for us. The high pressing employed by his team was brilliant. It was a real football revolution, a modern kind of football,” the 36-year-old said.
“Within a few years, no one played long balls anymore, even Real Madrid changed their style. Pep’s first year started this football revolution. We made history. Not just for the victories, but also for the way we played,” Xavi opined.