Pep Guardiola: 'Jurgen Klopp is an inspiration to me'

By Simon StoneBBC Sport
Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola
Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp were also rivals in the German Bundesliga

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola says Jurgen Klopp has inspired him to become a better manager.

Even though it was Liverpool's crown that had been taken, Klopp was one of the first rival bosses to get in touch when City's Premier League title success was confirmed on Tuesday night.

The pair are long-standing rivals, having battled against each other for Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga for two seasons before renewing acquaintances in the Premier League in 2016.

And although Guardiola has won five domestic titles during that time compared to Klopp's one, it is clear his respect for the German is huge.

"I appreciate it [the messages] a lot, from Carlo Ancelotti too," he said.

"I could not answer the messages yet but I will. I appreciate it because I admire them.

"Jurgen is an inspiration for me. With what he's done at Dortmund and Liverpool, he made me think a lot about football and my team.

"I can just say thank you so much for what he and Carlo have said."

November meeting the key

Gabriel Jesus and Trent Alexander-Arnold
Manchester City drew 1-1 with Liverpool at Etihad stadium in November 2020

There were some who wondered whether Guardiola would leave City this summer.

When the Blues were 10th in the Premier League following a 1-1 draw with Liverpool immediately before the November international break, those rumours intensified.

As it turned out, a meeting between Guardiola and chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak proved pivotal in changing the course of City's short and medium-term future.

"I travelled to see him in November," revealed Guardiola. "We had long discussions and he convinced me we still have work to do.

"I trust him a lot and I said we're going to try it again the next years. Part of the reason for my happiness here is his determination to convince me to say we still have to do it."

Within days, Guardiola had signed a two-year contract extension that will keep him at the club until 2023.

And, whilst City lost their first game after the break, at Tottenham, they were not beaten again until 7 March, when Manchester United won at Etihad Stadium. The game was the single blip in an incredible sequence of 27 victories, that swept City clear in the Premier League and deep into all three cup competitions.

"This title is important but in the big picture, over the last 10 years, Manchester City have won five [titles], they have won four of the last eight and three of the last four," said Guardiola.

"That is incredible, more important than winning this title."

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