'I learned a lot from him' – Guardiola praises Cruyff for teaching a winning mentality
The City boss says the legendary Dutchman’s influence at Barcelona helped instill an inner belief and a thirst for winning
Manchester City are benefitting from the belief instilled in Pep Guardiola by the legendary Johan Cruyff, according to the manager of the Premier League champions.
City have lifted three trophies since Guardiola arrived in 2016 and remain in contention for four more this season.
Sunday represents a chance to win the first major silverware of 2018-19 in the EFL Cup final against Chelsea, while City sit top of the league table with an FA Cup quarter-final to come and have one foot in the Champions League last eight after beating Schalke 3-2 in Germany on Wednesday.
Guardiola paid tribute to mentor Cruyff in the build-up to Sunday’s final at Wembley, crediting his former Barcelona coach for teaching him how to win.
“I learned a lot from him,” Guardiola told reporters. “Not just tactically, but in approach.
“But also Barcelona itself – when you live in Barcelona, Cruyff helped us a lot. Even with the relationship with the media to let them feel how important even they are. It’s true.
“Make them believe we are good and we are nice. We are a good club and we can do it. It helped us a lot.
“I think it’s the best way – you cannot win something if you don’t believe you can do it. You cannot win anything if you don’t believe ‘I’m nice, I’m strong enough to compete everywhere’. That is the first step.”
And Guardiola credited Cruyff with inspiring Barca’s recent domination, both at home and in Europe.
He added: “Johan Cruyff helped us a lot to win. In the academy in Barcelona, they show you that it is not good to lose games. You have to live in that condition and play every training session, friendly game, official game to win and win and win.
“But the first team in that period was not like the team of 10-20 years before winning a lot. It was a strong team, but not in terms of consistent winning.
“But the Dutch guy came and helped us to understand what it means to win again and again and again. Never to stop being hungry to win, and always be starving in that sense. And he helped us a lot to change the mentality of that club.”
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