Pep Guardiola believes the challenge of facing Jose Mourinho — and other top managers in the Premier League — can inspire him to reach new heights.
The new Manchester City boss is poised to clash with his old adversary, recently installed at rivals Manchester United, at close quarters this season.
The pair fought numerous battles during their time in Spain, when Guardiola led Barcelona and Mourinho was in charge at Real Madrid.
Speaking at his first press conference since his arrival at the Etihad Stadium this summer, Guardiola said: “I think Jose said pretty well in his press conference, that it is not about him or me. We are not focused on each other. The other one is going to win some. It is so tough to win the games here.
“But we played many times against each other. I can only say, as a coach, big coaches help me to reach another level and Jose is one of them.
“My experience against him and, for example, against Jurgen Klopp at Dortmund, and a lot of coaches in Spain and Germany, they made me better.
“(Antonio) Conte is a master tactician, a great signing for Chelsea. It is going to be very interesting competing with him and Klopp, (Claudio) Ranieri and (Ronald) Koeman also, loads of coaches come to mind.”
Guardiola accepts the challenge he faces at City, who finished a disappointing fourth in the Premier League last season, could be his biggest yet.
The Spaniard said: “Every stage is a big challenge. It could be the biggest because City have not won as many titles as Barca or Bayern but I don’t know. The challenge is coming to a new country and trying to prove yourself.
“I know how difficult it is in England to find a team to win four, five, six games in a row. It is not easy.
“Maybe that is the challenge, to try to be more consistent in our game.”
Meanwhile, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has signed a new long-term contract just nine months after arriving at the club.
Owners Fenway Sports Group have been so impressed with the German, who guided predecessor Brendan Rodgers’ squad to the Europa League and Capital One Cup finals, that they approached him about an extension in order for him and them to be able to plan for the future.
It is understood the new deal is for six years — Klopp was initially contracted to 2018 with the option of another year.
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