If Pep Guardiola didn’t already know what he’s getting himself into by taking the Manchester City job, as was officially announced on Monday, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is happy to tell him just how difficult life in the Premier League will be.
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Klopp, who is still a PL newcomer himself as the first-year Liverpool boss, was asked on Monday how he thinks the Spaniard will fare once he arrives in Manchester this summer. After stating the blatantly obvious — Guardiola is a very smart man; he can handle the challenge; we will have to wait and see; etc. — finally came the honesty.
Klopp, on the challenges awaiting Guardiola in England — quotes from the Guardian:
“He won’t have chosen Man City because of his friendship with a few people there. They won’t have the worst team in the world next year but I love football because that doesn’t mean everything. As we have shown once or twice you can beat these teams.
“We will see what happens but I cannot be interested in this now like everyone else is. I will see him for the first time maybe in July or August, that’s a long time from now. He will enjoy the league because it is a great league and a real competition and he is a real competitor. That is what he wants. I don’t think it will be the same situation as he had in Spain, with Barcelona on the top level, or in Germany with Bayern on the top level, but of course Man City has good possibilities. We will try to beat them.”
The biggest challenge of the PL, as just about every foreign manager who’s gone to England has said, lies within the middle and the bottom of the league table. Every league in the world has a handful of good teams pretty closely bunched together at the top, but what they don’t have is similar quality in the middle and bottom thirds of the hierarchy.
With increased television revenue severely changing the landscape of the PL — smaller clubs are now competing with the “bigger” clubs to sign many of the same players — the gap in England is only going to shrink more and more, making three points every weekend that much harder to come by.
Obviously, Man City are on a different level financially, but with Financial Fair Play hanging over their heads annually, even Sheikh Mansour’s vast wealth has limits.