Pep Guardiola pays tribute to Jurgen Klopp after Manchester City’s title triumph

Pep Guardiola has paid tribute to Jurgen Klopp for making him a better manager following Manchester City’s title success.

City were crowned Premier League champions on Tuesday, succeeding Klopp’s Liverpool.

The two managers have had a strong, but largely respectful, rivalry at the top of the English game in recent years and Liverpool boss Klopp was among the first to congratulate Guardiola this week.

The German even went on to describe Guardiola as the best manager in the world at a press conference on Wednesday.

That was a compliment Guardiola returned as he met media on Thursday to preview his side’s trip to Newcastle.

Reflecting on the text message he received from Klopp, Guardiola said: “I appreciate it a lot. He and (Everton manager) Carlo Ancelotti did it. I could not answer the messages yet but I will do today and I appreciate it a lot. I admire both of them.

Klopp (left) and Guardiola (right) have a healthy rivalry
Klopp (left) and Guardiola (right) have a healthy rivalry (Martin Rickett/PA)

“Jurgen, of course, was an inspiration for me. He made me, through his teams at Dortmund and Liverpool, a better manager. He made me think a lot about games and opponents. Thank you so much.”

Guardiola revealed he and his players celebrated with pizza at an impromptu party at their training complex after defeat for second-placed Manchester United to Leicester confirmed their title.

He said: “It was so nice. The unexpected parties are the nicest ones. If you organise a big party they are normally more boring than last Tuesday.

“We came here in our bubble. We drank a bit, we danced, he hugged a lot, we remembered how good it was. Then at 11.30 15 pizzas arrived and that was the best moment of the night!”

Asked what his favourite topping was, Guardiola said: “I was not in perfect condition to decide! All of them were so good.

“Here in England parties are always just alcohol, not food, and I don’t understand why. But the moment they brought the pizzas was perfect. It was a nice moment, all together here. We celebrated really good.”

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City’s success this season, which also includes their run to the Champions League final and a Carabao Cup triumph, has come after Guardiola signed a new contract in November.

The Spaniard, who arrived at the club in 2016, had been in the final year of his previous deal but he said he wanted to repay the faith shown in him by chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak.

He said: “I cannot forget my first season here, when we didn’t win anything, the behaviour of my chairman. And after the big disappointment against Lyon last season, the support I had from my chairman.

Guardiola has been thankful for the support of chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak
Guardiola has been thankful for the support of chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak (left) (Martin Rickett/PA)

“That’s why he is part of our success and it’s dedicated to him, for supporting me, like I support my backroom staff and the players.

“Now we have two weeks ahead of us to prepare for the dream come true of playing in the final of the Champions League.”

With the final in mind, Guardiola seems unlikely to take any risks with playmaker Kevin De Bruyne at Newcastle. The Belgian missed last week’s loss to Chelsea because of fatigue.

Guardiola said: “He is still injured. He is getting better. When he is fit he will come to training.

Kevin De Bruyne is unlikely to be risked at Newcastle on Friday
Kevin De Bruyne is unlikely to be risked at Newcastle on Friday (Michael Regan/PA)

“The guys who are completely fit, 100 per cent mentally and physically, will have the chance to play the final.”

The final will now take place in Porto after being moved from Istanbul due to travel restrictions. Talks over potentially playing it at Wembley were unsuccessful.

Guardiola said: “If UEFA decide that, we are going to go to Porto. I have had the pleasure to go to Istanbul but since my period as a football player in Barcelona, I never had the opportunity to go there again, not even in the Champions League.

“For Ilkay Gundogan I wanted to go there. Unfortunately UEFA decided to go to Portugal, so we are going to be in Portugal. No problem there.”