Ivan Rakitic has showered praise on former Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola, who’s now coach at Manchester City. Ahead of the Champions League clash between Barca and City, scheduled Tuesday at the Etihad Stadium, the Croatian international footballer spoke in a press conference.
The 28-year-old midfielder was asked a question about the Catalan coach and whether he would like to play for Man City under Pep Guadiola. Surprisingly, Rakitic gave an interesting answer.
In his words: “I would like to work with him, of course, or take a coffee with him.
“I took the No.4 shirt because of Pep. It was a great opportunity and I took it with both hands. He was one of the best in the world.
“My team-mates have told me a lot about him, what he was like.”
Image: Pep Guardiola
The former Sevilla captain had only best wishes for Pep though they haven’t spent much time together. He said warm-heartedly, “I hope he’s happy and successful in the future, but not tomorrow.
It would be fantastic to work with him one day, and if not, I’ll invite him for a coffee and we’ll chat. I respect him a lot.”
As both things prep for a successful outing today, statistics show Pep has been undefeated at the Etihad after winning five games and managing two draws.
However, football analysts believe history might get a funny twist today as Barca visit the Etihad Stadium. The problem for City is, no right back is 100 percent fit for the game, and this is a lapse which Barca can exploit for a merciless win.
Meanwhile, Pep says he sees this game as the final, adding that he’s ready aware of what to do in order to secure victory.
“We have to think we have no right-backs. We have one that’s recently played there and one that’s 19. We all have problems, we all have players out,” Guardiola said at during a press conference.
“They have some important players out but 4-0 is 4-0 -we have to learn from that. When you lose in that way at that level, the only thing you can do is win and learn.”
Image: Pep Guardiola
He continues: “I think we know what we have to do to beat them.
“They know us, and hopefully our quality up front will make a difference.
“We have to play in that way, like a final. It’s not a final for them, it is a final for us. It’s just three games left, we dropped two points in Glasgow, and we were penalised then, so we have to recover those points in next two games.”
Pep adds that he has faith in Willy Caballero. The goalkeeper will feature for City as a replacement for Claudio Bravo, who’s serving a suspension following his goalkeeping errors from the club’s 4-0 loss at Camp Nou.
The famous coach said: “Every time Willy has played, he has played well. He gives me confidence. I have no doubts about him.”