Pep Guardiola: Sam Allardyce’s Sunderland will give me a Manchester City baptism of fire

Pep Guardiola
Pep Guardiola
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New Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola expects Sunderland to hand him a baptism of fire to English football on the opening day of the season.

Guardiola today faced his first press conference as City manager and unveiled his blueprint for delivering success to the Etihad.

The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss will come up against Sunderland in his first Premier League encounter on August 13 and he is braced for the Etihad clash to be an eye-opener against Sam Allardyce’s men.

He said: “I know how difficult it is here in England. To find a team to win four, five, six games in a row is not easy.

“Maybe that’s the challenge.

“Against Sunderland, against Big Sam in the first one, I am sure it will be completely different (to what he’s previously experienced).

“Here is another test for my career. It would have been comfortable to stay where I was but I feel this is the right moment to move here.”

Guardiola will come up against a Sunderland side who lost just once in the final 11 games of last season, with the dogged will-to-win of Allardyce’s side proving decisive in the survival battle.

But the Spaniard still hopes to bring success to City with his famed tiki-taka style.

“I never played on a Boxing Day. I have never been to a stadium where it is windy and freezing and the pitch is not good,” he added.

“It’s a target for me. I want to prove myself here.

“When we have the ball more we want them to move it as quick as possible and create as many chances as possible.

“My responsibility here is to try to work with the players. I’ve got to do everything for them.

“I am just focusing on my players and what they have to do on the pitch, which is why I decided to come here.”