Football

Klopp made me a better manager: Guardiola

City boss credits his rival for making him think a lot more about their games

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has paid tribute to Liverpool boss Juergen Klopp for inspiring him to become a better manager following Manchester City's English Premier League title success.

City were crowned champions for the third time in four seasons on Tuesday when Manchester United lost 2-1 to Leicester City.

Klopp described Guardiola as the best manager in the world at a press conference on Wednesday and the Catalan was full of compliments in return.

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"Juergen, of course, was an inspiration for me," said Guardiola. "He made me, through his teams at Dortmund and Liverpool, a better manager. He made me think a lot about games and opponents. Thank you so much."

Guardiola revealed he and his players celebrated with pizza at an impromptu party at their training complex after defeat for second-placed United.

"It was so nice," he said. "The unexpected parties are the nicest ones. "We came here in our bubble. We drank a bit, we danced, we hugged a lot, we remembered how good it was.

"Then at 11:30, 15 pizzas arrived and that was the best moment of the night."

City's success this season, which also includes their run to the Champions League final and a League Cup triumph, has come after Guardiola signed a new deal last November.

The Spaniard, who arrived at the club in 2016, had been in the final year of his previous deal. But he extended his stay to 2023 as he wanted to repay the faith shown in him by chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak.

He said: "I cannot forget my first season here, when we didn't win anything, the behaviour of my chairman. And after the big disappointment against Lyon last season (defeat in the Champions League quarter-finals), the support I had from my chairman.

"That's why he is part of our success and it's dedicated to him, for supporting me, like I support my backroom staff and the players.

"Now we have two weeks ahead of us to prepare for the dream come true of playing in the final of the Champions League."

City are without playmaker Kevin de Bruyne, who has yet to shake off a minor muscle issue and will miss tomorrow morning's clash with Newcastle United.

The Belgian did not feature in City's 2-1 defeat by Chelsea last weekend because of the problem, but the EPL champions are hopeful he can recover ahead of the May 29 Champions League final against Chelsea.

"He's still injured but he's getting better," Guardiola said, adding that the players who were 100 per cent fit mentally and physically would have a chance to play in the final.

"Before that, we have three games to get information about how the team is and the players to play in the last game of the season."

Newcastle manager Steve Bruce, who has helped the beleaguered Magpies stave off relegation, insisted yesterday he plans to stay on despite a turbulent season, in which he has also faced online death threats.

Three wins in their last five games have lifted the Magpies to safety in 16th spot, with three games remaining after a gruelling battle for survival.

"I've got a contract and until I hear otherwise, I'm going to crack on," said the 60-year-old, who also had to deal with a coronavirus outbreak at the club earlier in the season. - AFP, REUTERS

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