Pep Guardiola praises ‘exceptional’ and ‘humble’ Man City director of football Txiki Begiristain

‘Without him I would not be here’: Pep Guardiola praises ‘exceptional’ and ‘humble’ Txiki Begiristain… with Man City boss insisting his ‘gratitude is eternal’ to club’s director of football

Pep Guardiola has paid tribute to Manchester City director of football Txiki Begiristain by saying: ‘Without him I would be nothing’.

In an era when managers in Europe’s top divisions lose their jobs with increasing frequency, City coach Guardiola is now in his fifth season at the club. Previously he spent four years with Begiristain at Barcelona.

Asked about the relationship ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League tie with PSG, Guardiola said: ‘You cannot imagine. One of the reason why I extend my time here was because of him. ‘We met when I was 19 and we’ve been close friends. We work together well. We analyse why when we win or lose and don’t judge the other one.

City director of football Txiki Begiristain

Pep Guardiola (left) paid tribute to Manchester City director of football Txiki Begiristain (right)

Previously Guardiola (right) had spent four years with Begiristain (left) at Barcelona

Previously Guardiola (right) had spent four years with Begiristain (left) at Barcelona

‘I’ve been judged on results but we both work for the best of this club. He’s the most humble person, always behind the scenes, never in the media. I think of him so highly, he’s exceptional – what he did in Barcelona and what he did here.

‘To work here with people like Txiki is a joy. They are difficult to find. We met almost 30 years ago, we played together and had a relationship in Barcelona. He trusted me when I wasn’t anyone, training in fourth division.

‘He trusted me and my gratitude is eternal. Without him I would not be here. He showed me who he is in the bad moments. City are incredibly lucky to have him supporting the academy and many things behind the scenes.

‘It’s the ideal situation when the sporting director trusts the manager. We know if we don’t win we’ll both be sacked but until then he supports the manager in everything.

‘The players and the people know there is no bad influence and this is so important.’

The duo are now working together at City and Guardiola praised Begiristain as 'exceptional'

The duo are now working together at City and Guardiola praised Begiristain as ‘exceptional’

PSG manager Mauricio Pochettino arrives in Manchester on Tuesday with his future in doubt. Manchester United have identified him as a top target to replace the sacked Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Co-incidentally, the power of PSG sporting director Leonardo is one of the things that PSG coaches can finds difficult to deal with and Pochettino’s standing at the club will only ever be strengthened if he wins big trophies.

Asked at lunchtime on Tuesday if a coach can ever be considered elite without picking up silverware, Guardiola said: ‘I’m pretty sure the managers get better every year. Every season we go through, you have a lot of learning. I’m pretty sure he’s an excellent manager.

‘Yes you can be a top manager without titles, of course. The managers who have the chance to win titles are at top, top clubs with good investments and exceptional players. Otherwise it’s impossible to win.

PSG manager Mauricio Pochettino arrives in Manchester on Tuesday with his future in doubt

PSG manager Mauricio Pochettino arrives in Manchester on Tuesday with his future in doubt

‘That doesn’t mean the managers in the Championship or in the Premier League but outside the top six at the top cannot be excellent managers in tactics and communication, leading the team, as human beings.

‘It’s not necessary to win titles to be a top manager.’

Guardiola will once again be up against his former Barcelona star Lionel Messi at the Etihad on Wednesday night. Messi scored a decisive and spectacular second goal when PSG beat City in Paris in September.

Asked how best to stop Messi, Guardiola said: ‘It’s so difficult.

Guardiola will once again be up against his former Barcelona star Lionel Messi at the Etihad

Guardiola will once again be up against his former Barcelona star Lionel Messi at the Etihad

‘Sometimes when he has the ball he doesn’t know what he has to do. He might go right or left but not even he knows.

‘It happens also with Neymar, Mbappe, Di Maria. All four are in the same team and each could be a star around the world.

‘I’m happy he’s still playing at this level and it will be nice to face him again.’

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk

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