Thierry Henry on Pep Guardiola: Tactics, training and what it's like to play for new Manchester City boss
Last Updated: 02/02/16 4:51pm
Thierry Henry knows exactly what it's like to play under Pep Guardiola.
The Sky Sports expert was an integral part of the Barcelona squad that won the Champions League, La Liga and the Copa del Rey under Guardiola in 2009 - and is perfectly placed to tell the Manchester City players and supporters what they can expect from their new boss next season.
How will he approach matches? What will he look to do in the transfer market? What's he like in the dressing room and on the training field?
Allow Thierry to bring you the insider's guide to the new Manchester City manager…
Pep Guardiola is famous for the brand of 'tiki-taka' he introduced at Barcelona, but what sort of approach will he bring to the Premier League?
THIERRY SAYS: What he is going to bring to Manchester City is a team that will possess the ball most of the time against any team. It will be a team that will score a lot of goals and a team that will also not concede a lot of goals. People keep forgetting his teams don't concede a lot of goals.
You will get intensity. He is very demanding. The word I will use is 'dominate' - because that's what he wants to do. Is he going to do that? Time will tell, but usually when he goes somewhere he wants to dominate. Let's see what is going to happen because he will have to adapt to the league.
Something which is very important is that he loves to defend from the front in the opposition half. He is ahead of the game and he loves to try to set his team in a certain way to avoid a counter.
When you are on the ball, he is already thinking, 'How can we stop them just in case they counter?' That's a big thing for him and in order to stay in the opposition's half you need to do that and make sure the opposition don't get the ball and make you run back 60 yards.
Manchester City fans have become accustomed to big-name signings over the last few years, but will Guardiola be looking to splash the cash during his tenure?
THIERRY SAYS: What you can expect with the resources that Man City have is that some big players are going to come. He usually tries to bring in some players and he has some good players already there, but he will trigger some stuff. One thing I will say is he will bring in some big names.
But something else you can expect is that he will trust his youngsters. Everywhere he has been he hasn't been scared to trust a youngster either from the Academy or he has tried to get a young player on loan like Kingsley Coman. He is on loan from Juventus at Bayern Munich - and he plays him. That's exactly the balance you want sometimes; you have money, but I guess the Man City fans would love to see some youngsters coming through the ranks to play for the first team.
Guardiola has handled plenty of big names in his time, so what sort of personality can the Manchester City players expect?
THIERRY SAYS: He is a strict manager where he should be strict. He is not over-strict, but he tries to bring the right discipline for a player to be professional and to perform.
He will challenge his players and be honest - and sometimes honesty can hurt. He will tell you how it is and what he expects from you. You are going to have to do what he wants and he will teach you how to do it. He will do everything in order for you to have an idea of what is happening - what you need to do offensively and defensively and he will tell you everything about how the team you are playing against plays. But also, as I said on Monday Night Football a few weeks ago, he will give you an element of freedom to do what you need to do in the last third.
What sort of drills can the City squad look forward to in their training sessions next season?
THIERRY SAYS: When I used to play for Barcelona I always used to say people didn't see the amount of running we did and the amount of hard work we did to get the ball back. You always associate his teams with possession, but there is so much more than that.
In training, there are a lot of possession games and a lot of stuff with the ball. One thing I would say is that he demands intensity. If you play with pressure, staying high, being compact and having the distances right between the players for the whole game then you have to train a certain way and with the right intensity. That's what he will demand.
It will be Guardiola's first season in English football and expectations will be high straight away. Will he need to do anything differently?
THIERRY SAYS: Pep will not change his philosophy for anyone. He got hammered last year when Bayern lost in the Champions League because he tried to play really high and put pressure on Barcelona without Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben. People say he should have sat back at the Nou Camp, but that's not his philosophy. People might say he was crazy, but I don't think it was crazy. He stayed true to his philosophy.
That's how he wins games and that's how he will lose them. We saw it in the games against Arsenal this season. At the Emirates, Bayern Munich came and lost and in the return leg they played the same way and won. He will try to play the same way - try to suffocate the other team by having possession, putting pressure on and avoiding counters.
I don't think he will change much because of the Premier League, but there are some things he might have to change. We have the League Cup over here, which you don't have in Spain and Germany, so there is one more competition to play in.
At Christmas, you have a week off in Spain or a month off in Germany, so your team can recover and regroup - so he is maybe going to have to install more of a rotation. That's something he maybe wasn't doing too much before, I would say. That's why you have a big squad and why resources will come in handy at some point, as well as youngsters coming through the ranks.
AND FINALLY… WILL HE BE A SUCCESS?
THIERRY SAYS: I would back him to be a success. There are still lots of questions. For example, who is going to be the Manchester United manager and who are they going to buy? We are maybe going a bit far thinking about next season already, but you don't need me to tell you that everywhere he has gone he has been successful.
You would like to think that in three years he is going to do something good for Man City. The teams that are fighting them will do everything to stop them, but it is almost certain that they are going to win something.