11192017

Pep Guardiola: Gary Lineker on meeting Man City boss for The Premier League Show

The Premier League Show - Pep Guardiola

You can see Gary Lineker’s in-depth interview with Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola on The Premier League Show at 22:00 BST on Thursday on BBC Two and the BBC Sport website.

Pep Guardiola sometimes comes across as a little bit curt when he speaks to the media but I found him extremely open and engaging when I met him last week.

It maybe helped that we had some common ground in that we both played for Barcelona, and under the same coach – Johan Cruyff.

But I had no inkling of the story that Pep brought up right at the start of our conversation, about when I was a player at Barca and he was a ball boy who asked me for my shirt.

It set the tone for the rest of the interview because it got across that he has a fun side as well as the intensity that we often see from him on the touchlines or in front of the cameras.

Gary Lineker and Pep Guardiola<!–

Lineker played for Barcelona between 1986 and 1989, when a young Pep Guardiola was in the club’s academy and a ball boy at the Nou Camp. Guardiola came through the Barca youth ranks to play for the club between 1988 and 2001, and returned there in 2007 to launch his managerial career with great success.

I think part of the reason Pep can be abrupt is because he is usually interviewed either just before or immediately after a match when all managers are probably uptight, not just him.

So it was good to speak to him in a more relaxed setting to hear his thoughts about English football and try to find out a little bit about what makes him tick.

What came across is that the psychological part of the game is as important to him as his tactics when it comes to working with his team.

Man City manager Pep Guardiola and Gary Lineker<!–

Lineker met Guardiola in Manchester last week – the Spaniard did not ask him for his shirt this time

I had already seen that he is constantly coaching his players, not just in training but during games as well – more than any other manager I know of.

But his approach is all encompassing. When he explained it to me, he made clear reference to the mental side of it too, and how he takes some of his inspiration from other sports.

I enjoyed interviewing him a lot, and you can watch it for yourselves on this week’s Premier League Show (at 22:00 BST on Thursday on BBC Two and the BBC Sport website).

Media playback is not supported on this device

Watch Guardiola’s awkward post-match interview

I wanted to find out how the top managers think

Since the show started in August 2016 I have interviewed several Premier League managers, including Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp, Manchester United’s Jose Mourinho, Chelsea’s Antonio Conte – and now Guardiola too.

All of them have very different personalities, a different footballing ethos and different ways of thinking about the game.

But what they have in common is that they are among the very best coaches in the world and it has been great to speak to all of them at length.

Media playback is not supported on this device

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp gets to grips with England geography

They have great managerial and coaching minds and by putting their teams together they are doing something that I would never have been able to do, so I find it quite educational and interesting talking to them.

It is not just the big names, either. With all the managers I have sat down with, I wanted to find out how they think and how they want to make a difference.

I never go in with any questions written down, I just want to have a good conversation with them and generally it feels like all of them have responded really well.

Media playback is not supported on this device

The Premier League Show: Antonio Conte interview

Pep is a perfectionist but he knows he needs trophies too

There are definitely similarities between Pep and Cruyff, because both of them are very much teachers, who want to try to improve their players and get the best out of them.

One difference is that Cruyff was also a bit of a know-it-all about everything when you spoke to him. It was part of his make-up and also part of why he was so successful as a manager.

Guardiola is clearly hugely knowledgeable too, and also something of a perfectionist, but he does not have that slightly arrogant side that Johan perhaps had.

Media playback is not supported on this device

Pep Guardiola meets Manchester City fans to outline ambitions

Pep admitted to me he has adapted his approach since coming to the Premier League in the summer of 2016 and says he still does not know if he will be successful here – but at the same time he insisted he will never change his principles about how his teams will play.

I liked that, because his principles are great. We have to remember that his Manchester City side make football such a pleasure to watch, and he obviously also thinks they can get results too.

Pep can already be considered successful at City in terms of the joy his brand of football is giving to people watching them. But previously, at Barca and Bayern Munich, he has shown it is effective in terms of winning things as well.

Pep Guardiola<!–

Guardiola won 14 major trophies in four seasons as Barcelona boss, including the Champions League twice. He added seven more in three years at Bayern Munich, and last season was his first without a trophy as a manager

So, although it has not happened for him yet at City, his record everywhere else suggest that he will be a winner in England, as well as trying to do it in style.

I think he understands that has to happen. He might be a perfectionist when it comes to the way his teams play, but he knows he needs trophies too.

And it will happen for him at City. It might be this season or it might be next – but he is going to win things here for sure.

Gary Lineker was speaking to BBC Sport’s Chris Bevan.

What Next?

Recent Articles

Leave a Reply

You must be Logged in to post comment.