Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola says Jurgen Klopp has inspired him to become a better manager.
Before their Premier League showdowns, the Liverpool manager was with Borussia Dortmund where he went up against Guardiola’s Bayern Munich.
Even though it was Liverpool who lost the title this season as defending champions, Klopp was one of the first rival bosses to get in touch with Pep Guardiola when City were officially crowned Premier League champions on Tuesday night following Leicester City’s win over Manchester United at Old Trafford.
Guardiola and Klopp are long-standing rivals, having battled against each other as Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund managers in the Bundesliga for two seasons before going head-to-head in the Premier League once again in 2016.
Although Guardiola won five domestic titles during his time in Germany as compared to Klopp’s one, he has the utmost respect for the German.
“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.”
There were significant doubts as to whether Guardiola would leave City this summer but given their success so far and on the brink of winning their first-ever European trophy, you could help but think that the Spaniard would stay. He did just that by signing a new contract.
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.
Whilst City lost their first game after the break, at Tottenham, they were not beaten again until 7 March, when Manchester United won at the Etihad Stadium. The game was the single blip in an incredible stretch of 27 victories, which meant that City ran away with the Premier League and are on course to win the big double with Chelsea in their way.
“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.”