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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 12 December 2018

Pep Guardiola says Premier League has made him a better manager 'by far'

Former Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager now in charge at Manchester City says heavy fixture congestion and a title challenge from five other contenders have improved him

Pep Guardiola says working in England has made him a better manager. Reuters
Pep Guardiola says working in England has made him a better manager. Reuters

Pep Guardiola believes working in the Premier League has made him a better manager.

The Manchester City manager said that the competitive nature and sheer unpredictability of the Premier League has presented him with the biggest challenge of his career.

Guardiola is one of the most successful managers of all time. Prior to his move to Manchester, Guardiola collected three Liga titles and two Uefa Champions League trophies with Barcelona, before leading Bayern Munich to three consecutive Bundesliga crowns.

Guardiola initially failed to transfer that success to English football as City ended the 2016/17 campaign under the Catalan's first season in charge trophyless.

Guardiola said it felt like he needed to learn a whole new set of skills after arriving in England in 2016, forced to cope with heavy fixture congestion and a title challenge from five other contenders.

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"I am a better manager than I was in Germany, and I am a better manager now than I was in Barcelona by far, just for the fact of being there," he said at the Peers Annual Lecture at Liverpool University.

"Now, I feel being here I am a better manager too, because I learned to handle this incredible league in many circumstances.

"It is the toughest one, for the amount of games, for the weather and the referees saying: 'play [on], play [on], play [on]' and the competitors, there are many. It is the only country that five or six [teams] can win the Premier League."

Guardiola led City to the Premier League title in record-breaking fashion last season, finishing on 100 points and 106 goals in 38 matches.

City also lifted the League Cup and Community Shield this year to take Guardiola's tally to 24 major trophies, with the City manager admitting that transferring his skills to the international stage could one day come to fruition.

"Sooner or later, it will happen because every three days I would like to be involved, but a little bit more calm, play more golf," he added.

"If I have a chance and some international team wants to come 'knock knock'. We will see."

Guardiola was on Wednesday formally warned by the English Football Association on over comments he made about referee Anthony Taylor before this month's Manchester derby.

Guardiola went against FA rules by discussing the suitability of the appointment of the official, who is from a Manchester suburb, for the clash.

City won the match at the Etihad Stadium 3-1.

Table-toppers City return to Premier League action on Saturday following the two-week international break when they travel to 13th-placed West Ham United.