Saturday 26 May 2018

Puyol: Pep will lift the league

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola Photo: Barrington Coombs/PA Wire
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola Photo: Barrington Coombs/PA Wire

Carles Puyol believes Pep Guardiola's arrival at Manchester City will see standards improve across the Premier League.

It was announced in February that the 45-year-old would be taking the reins at the Etihad Stadium.

City have secured one of the world's best coaches and Guardiola boasts a medal-laden CV, having led Bayern Munich to a hat-trick of Bundesliga titles after winning three LaLiga crowns and two Champions Leagues with Barcelona.

Puyol was captain throughout his time at the Nou Camp and believes this next chapter will not only benefit City but everyone across English foot ball.

"I think he is going to do a great job," the former defender said. "He has been a great coach for us. I appreciated working with him.

"I think he is going to be an asset for the Premier League, although I don't know the Premier League (as well).

"I think they play somewhat differently and therefore he might bring new techniques to them, which could be very beneficial for the Premier League."

Guardiola's arrival adds an extra ingredient to what promises to be a fascinating Premier League campaign as the big names look to make amends following a shock season.


Their struggles allowed Leicester to rock the footballing world and become champions - a remarkable achievement which seems even more unlikely in La Liga due to Real Madrid and Barcelona's dominance.

Atletico Madrid have threatened that duopoly in recent years and Puyol has not ruled out a similar situation arising in Spanish football one day.

"Well, you never know," he said regarding a Spanish-style Leicester City story, speaking at the Spanish Embassy in Paris.

"Nobody expected that to happen in the Premier League either but it just happened that the Premier League top clubs weren't doing so great.

"And all of a sudden this little one just sprang up, so you never know. It can happen anywhere, really.

"It depends on the context and you just have to wait and see, I guess."

City yesterday signed Ukraine midfielder Oleksandr Zinchenko. The 19-year-old former Shakhtar Donetsk player, who featured in all three of Ukraine's matches at Euro 2016, arrives from Russian club FC Ufa.

Zinchenko's arrival at the Etihad Stadium follows those of Ilkay Gundogan and Nolito this summer.

A tweet from the club read: "Manchester City are pleased to announce the transfer of Ukrainian midfielder Oleksandr Zinchenko from FC Ufa."

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