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Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has revealed exactly why he appointed Mikel Arteta as his assistant at the Etihad in 2016.
The duo worked together for three years before Arteta ventured into management with Premier League rivals Arsenal.
Having guided Man City to two Premier League titles, an FA Cup and two League Cups, the duo will now go face to face this evening in the fourth round of the FA Cup.
Guardiola explains Arteta appointment
Arteta made an immediate switch to the Manchester outfit after ending his playing career with Arsenal, but he has since returned to the Emirates, where has driven the Gunners to the top of the Premier League table.
League action takes a break this weekend, however, with Arteta returning to the Etihad this evening in the FA Cup, where he will meet his former mentor in the dugout.
Speaking to the Man City website, Guardiola has now explained exactly why he brought Arteta in as his assistant in the first place.
“I knew him a little bit but not much,” said Guardiola. “We made conversations and he said ‘I would like to work together and I can help you because I know the Premier League perfectly, I know all the managers.’
“I remember that the first game we played was against Sunderland and we play against David Moyes who was there in that moment and he said ‘I know him well, I was in Everton, he does this, he does that, the strategies, the set-pieces.’
“After 15 minutes, I said ‘yeah he is the man, he is the guy, he can help me to anticipate.’ I don’t know what my part on him was but his influence on me was great, was massive, was so important to become a better manager.”
Guardiola: Everyone has dreams
Arteta left the Etihad at the end of the 2018/19 campaign, with his next destination a return to Arsenal, whom he had captained as a player.
The manager endured a difficult start in north London, with many fans even calling for the Spaniard to be sacked. But things have taken a dramatic turn for the better since those early days, with Arsenal now five points ahead of Man City at the top of the Premier League.
Guardiola would undoubtedly want his old friend alongside him on Friday, but the duo must battle it out in the FA Cup, with only one boss able to come out on top.
Given Arteta’s strengths early on, Man City manager Guardiola always knew a day would come when he had to say goodbye to his assistant.
“I have said many times because I had many, many assistant coaches since I arrived, that I don’t want anyone who doesn’t want to be with me,” added Guardiola.
“We felt that soon one team could ask him to be a manager, he will leave. I am not a guy to say ‘no you have to stay with me’ because everyone has dreams.
“I know he went to the team he dreams of, he’s a supporter of Arsenal for the fact he played there, he was the captain there and he loves the club.”
— Manchester City (@ManCity) January 27, 2023
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