Guardiola lauds new Chelsea boss Sarri, says Chelsea already a force

Getty Images

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has conquered La Liga, the Bundesliga, and now the Premier League, the latter by a record margin in just his second year in charge.

Yet he isn’t stopping his quest to learn more, and knows just who to watch next.

Guardiola was excited to match up against his new Premier League adversary in Sunday’s Community Shield that pits the reigning league champion against the FA Cup winner, the traditional opener to next weekend’s Premier League exposé.

“First of all I’m happy that a manager of that level is in the Premier League. I’m going to learn a lot to see him every weekend,” Guardiola said in his pre-match press conference on Friday. “We are going to improve a lot because of his ideas here in England.

Guardiola wasn’t just impressed by what he saw from Sarri at Napoli when the two played last season in the Champions League, with Manchester City prevailing twice in Group F play. The City boss said he’s already done plenty of scouting, and he’s blown away by how quickly the Chelsea players are embracing Sarri’s instructions.

“I saw three games [of Chelsea] in pre-season and he got it,” Guardiola said. “He did it – the team in a short time plays like he wants. Of course, he needs more time to work everything but the ideas are already there so I think it’ll be a good game [ on Sunday]. Chelsea is always a big rival, with Antonio Conte before and with Maurizio too. The way he plays I think will be perfect for English football. I’m so happy he came here.”

Sarri’s Chelsea takes on Manchester City on Sunday, with the Community Shield match kicking off at 10:00 a.m. ET. The Blues then kick off their league season against Huddersfield Town on the road on Saturday, followed up by their home opener at Stamford Bridge against Arsenal on August 18.