Comparing Arsenal & Man City's Premier League title run-insMar 24 | 2 min read
Pep Guardiola reveals the "secret" why he signed a new Manchester City deal, the importance of body language and returning to Barcelona
Pep Guardiola recently extended his Manchester City contract until at least the summer of 2025 and explains why on the Michael Calvin Football People podcast.
In an extensive interview on Michael Calvin's Football People podcast, Pep Guardiola delves into one of the reasons he decided to sign a new contract at Manchester City.
Guardiola, who has won four Premier League titles, four Carabao Cups, two Community Shields and an FA Cup in his six full seasons at the Etihad, recently put pen to paper on a two-year extension that should keep him at the club until the summer of 2025.
Reflecting on leadership and the difference at City compared to some of his previous managerial experiences, the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss said: "Marcelo Bielsa expressed the loneliness, how you are completely abandoned when the results are not there.
Join the home of live sport for just £29.99 per month. Get instant access to the BT Sport app, with no contract and no BT broadband required.
"You are completely alone, alone with your thoughts and then maybe one or two staff, but you are completely detached from all the players.
"In the media of course, if you win you are good, if you lose you are bad, so this is nothing new anywhere.
"One of the secrets for extending my contract here is that I have more friends here working closely with me and I feel less abandoned when they are there."
One of those confidants is Manuel Estiarte. The pair met unusually, when Estiarte, a Barcelona supporter, went to congratulate Guardiola on being part of the team's victorious 1991-92 La Liga triumph.
The pair have remained in touch ever since, with Estiarte occupying roles on Guardiola's coaching staff wherever he has been.
Asked if Estiarte was akin to a life coach, Guardiola replied: "You could say [that]. With Manuel, I don't feel abandoned. That's why we have been here for many, many years because it's beyond our relationship together in football."
One of Estiarte's areas of expertise is in body language, a topic that makes Guardiola very animated.
"Every activity you do in your life, when your body language is not correct, it's impossible to do it well. Impossible," he stresses.
"Artist, painter, actor, director. [In] every activity, the talent has to be expressed quite often. If the body language is grumpy, sad, [it’s] impossible. You cannot succeed.
"From there, we have to build tactics. Play four at the back, five at the back, right, left, long balls, box-to-box, whatever you want.
"First is how you approach the situation and the guys that are positive and react to difficulties in the bad moments, one action in the bad moment and 'I'm OK again'. What gets you back is the body language, it’s your mood.
"Accept you’re a human being, accept you are not perfect, accept that you make a mistake, accept that the opponent is better and always turn back [and try to improve].
"Like it happens in football, in life continually, because nobody is happy for 24 hours, every minute.
"So you need to be unhappy, you have to be grumpy, you have to be sad to give real credit [to] how happy you are right now. Only the body language will get you there."
When Calvin asks about plans to take a break, Guardiola shows his humorous side.
"In this moment, I think it will be in a few years. My kids will already be independent," he says.
"With my wife, I have the feeling that maybe we will do another sabbatical year in another place, not in New York [where he spent his last sabbatical after leaving Barcelona], maybe another place. Her and myself, but I think I will be back to Barcelona.
"I miss 25°C [for] 11 months, I miss the food, the smell of the sea, opening the curtains in the morning and seeing that light in your eyes.
"A lot of friends that I miss. [I miss] going back to the stadium in Barcelona, sitting there watching the games, the club of my heart, and enjoying the football there and doing many many things that still, right now, I’m not able to do.
"Like learn to cook for example and travel to places I’ve not been, play golf every single day, eat as much as possible to become a good 90kg father. These kinds of things I will do."
You can hear the full interview with Guardiola on the latest episode of Michael Calvin's Football People, available to download now on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and other popular podcast platforms.
New episodes of the podcast will be released every Thursday as part of the new BT Sport Pods series, which also comprises five other podcasts: The Joe Cole Cast, The Premier League Storybook with Jake Humphrey, Currie Club: The Scottish Football Sessions, Rugby Stories, and James Richardson's Kings of Europe.