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Guardiola won’t be ‘spooked’ by Jose Mourinho

Manchester City's incoming boss Pep Guardiola (right) and United's Jose Mourinho will renew their rivalry. PHOTO/DM.
Manchester City’s incoming boss Pep Guardiola (right) and United’s Jose Mourinho will renew their rivalry. PHOTO/DM.

BARCELONA, Spain June 29 – Pep Guardiola will have no problem picking up the bill if he goes out for dinner with Jose Mourinho in Manchester, claims new City assistant Domenec Torrent.

In an in-depth interview in El Punt Avui, Torrent also says Guardiola will adjust his style to suit the demands of English football in order to be successful in the Premier League – and claims the coach will make City hard to score against, not just great going forward.

Asked about the potential clash with Mourinho, Torrent says: ‘Asides from the famous press conference before a Champions League semi-final in 2011 if there was anything between them it was from Mourinho towards Guardiola.
‘Manchester is a small place and I’m sure we will coincide [with him] in restaurants. One day he can pay and another day Pep and I will pay. I think Pep is past being spooked by anything. You just get on with your work and control everything that is in your power to control. For our part we are very relaxed about it all.’

Torrent was also asked about how the new City manager will deal with the different demands of the Premier League. He has been accused in the past of preaching the gospel of Guardiola and not being flexible but Torrent says: ‘I have said this many times that people sell this idea that that Pep tried to change German football or will try to change English football. It is just not like that.

‘We went to Germany and immediately we realised that we had to learn to deal with counter-attacks and that the football was much more physical. And we had to mix that with the desire to control games by having possession and playing out from the back and we came up with a combination.

‘The Bayern that won the treble was a much more end-to-end football style. With Pep they controlled the games more. He adjusted his ideas to the football there and in the Premier League he will do the same.

‘There are many different styles in football and any one of them can be successful. He is not going there to give lessons to anybody.’

Mourinho could be joined by Guardiola's former Barcelona player Zlatan Ibrahimovic (left) this summer. PHOTO/DM.
Mourinho could be joined by Guardiola’s former Barcelona player Zlatan Ibrahimovic (left) this summer. PHOTO/DM.

Torrent also promised City fans that Guardiola would work every hour possible to make sure they are successful. He said: ‘There is no perfect coach but Pep comes close. There are people that just go into work every day and then there are people that actually work every day.

‘He spends so many hours working and everyone that works alongside him has to do the same. Players who have had many other coaches come with the idea of what he will be like to work with but then they experience something different.

‘He can lose games but it is never because of a lack of attention to detail. Luck always plays a part but you have to minimise its influence by making sure you leave no stone unturned in preparation – giving players options in attack and exploring the weaknesses of the rivals.

‘Every training session is a tactical lesson and always based on the next rival, analysing them and looking to minimise their virtues. He has been seven years in the top flight in Spain and Germany and his teams have always conceded the least number of goals.

‘Some people overlook that. He wants his teams to have the ball but he also wants to control the game when his team does not have the ball. He is not just an offensive coach; he knows you have to take care of everything.’
Torrent says that Guardiola’s workaholic approach makes it hard for him to disconnect. ‘We can take some time off in pre-season,’ he says. ‘But if we have a few beers the discussion always comes back around to if 4-3-3 is better than 3-4-3.’

Asked about how that intensity might drain the 45-year-old, he says: ‘With the way he works it is impossible that he could stay at a club for 20 years. There is a lot of intensity, not just physically but also mentally. His day starts at eight in the morning and does not end until seven at night.’

Torrent has worked with Guardiola since he started his coaching career with Barcelona B in Spain’s third-tier and is always sat next to him on the bench.

Guardiola’s most trusted lieutenant is also the grandson of a former Barcelona player and the only member of the coaching staff that Pep allows to give team talks.