Gerard Pique says Manchester City are better under Pep Guardiola than Manuel Pellegrini
By Paul Vinnell
Last Updated: 18/10/16 3:43pm
Manchester City are better under Pep Guardiola than they were under Manuel Pellegrini, says Barcelona defender Gerard Pique.
Guardiola returns to the Nou Camp as City manager on Wednesday for their Champions League tie and will come up against centre-back Pique, who was a member of the Barcelona team which won 14 trophies between 2008 and 2012 under the Spaniard.
Barca beat City four times out of four in the last 16 of the 2013/14 and 2014/15 competitions when Pellegrini was in charge at the Etihad.
Pique expects a tougher task on Wednesday night, saying: "Pep made a mark on all of us that were with him, there was a before and after. We understood football in a different way and he changed the history of the club.
"I only have complimentary words for him. He gave me the opportunity to come here and gave me everything.
"I think Manchester City is a different team from last year or the years they came here with (Manuel) Pellegrini.
"The style of play is different. They pressure [they put on you] is really high, they try to have the ball and create chances and I think they play like us because Pep Guardiola was here many years.
"He understands football the same way we do. It will be a really challenging game."
Barcelona hold a two-point lead over City at the top of Group C and they will be boosted by the availability of Lionel Messi after a groin injury.
Messi took just three minutes to score on his return as a substitute in Saturday's 4-0 win over Deportivo la Coruna and is expected to start alongside Neymar and Luis Suarez up front for just the fourth time this season.
"It doesn't matter if he is 100 per cent or 10 per cent, he is so different and so good just his presence on the pitch makes a difference for us and the other team," said Pique.
"Leo looks fine, you saw it only took him three minutes to get going. He is the best player in history. I've known him since he was 13.
"We don't put all the pressure on him, though, Leo with Argentina doesn't always win. The team has to perform because it is impossible to win with just one player."