Former Barcelona captain Carles Puyol says Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola will change football in England but said he facing the biggest challenge of his career.
Puyol and Guardiola won three La Liga titles and two Champions League together during the Catalan’s four-year reign at Barcelona.
Guardiola also won three Bundesliga titles with Bayern Munich but Puyol said the direct football in England will be a test for his favoured tactical approach.
“It’s the biggest challenge for Guardiola, but I think he will change football in England,” Puyol was quoted as saying in the Daily Mirror.
“A lot of people say football is different in England to other countries but the way Guardiola works and puts pressure on his players will change football here a bit.
“His biggest challenge is to change the direct style of football. Now in England the football is more direct, with big centre-backs — I couldn’t play here, because I’m too small.”
Guardiola has made big alterations to the City squad, including the decision to allow goalkeeper Joe Hart to leave on loan for Torino while bringing in Chile international Claudio Bravo.
Puyol says that decision has already had a major impact on the club’s playing style.
“Guardiola wants to start playing from the back with intelligent play from the goalkeeper,” he added. “It doesn’t mean he won’t play long, like against Manchester United when they scored a goal with three touches, but it’s the whole style.
“He is based on ball possession and playing from the back. I have seen his influence on City very quickly.
“He is doing very well, he has very clear ideas which he tries to transmit to the players. He is the best coach I ever worked with and I’m pleased to see him in England.”