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'He tells us that we all have to learn English. In December, I have an exam'

Pep Guardiola has demanded that his foreign players learn English, says Nicolas Otamendi.

Image: Martin Rickett

EXQUISITE ATTACKING PLAY aside, Manchester City have made strides in defence this season which bode well for the bones of a campaign during which Pep Guardiola’s future at the club will likely be determined.

Nicolas Otamendi, much derided by fans since his arrival from Valencia in 2015, has markedly improved this term, his partnership with John Stones – himself the subject of much ire in Guardiola’s first year – shoring City up at the back, with newer recruit Ederson, too, doing his bit between the sticks.

Stones recently remarked how City’s English defenders – namely he and Kyle Walker, as well as recent defensive convert Fabian Delph – often use Spanish phrases in order to communicate with Otamendi and Ederson, the latter of whom can communicate en Español despite hailing from Portuguese-speaking Brazil.

But speaking to Fox Sports in his native Argentina, Otamendi revealed that manager Guaardiola has insisted that the squad’s foreign players learn English – the language with which he communicates during team meetings.

“After the match we are obliged to eat together. Nutrition and rest are important because we play continuously,” Otamendi told the radio broadcaster.

Guardiola is quite picky with diet and not only that: he tells us that we all have to learn English. This is because team meetings are in this language, and in December I have an exam.

“Guardiola does all these things so that we can perform in the best possible way. These things help the team function.”

However, unlike former City manager Roberto Mancini – supposedly, at least – Guardiola also attempts to connect with his players on a personal level, per Otamendi.

“He is omnipresent, and not only for football. He always asks how things are going with our family and everything else,” the Argentine said of his Catalan boss.

Guardiola himself, meanwhile, has revealed that he often plays a game of WWJCD – or ‘What would Johan Cruyff do’ – when he encounters difficulties in his managerial career.

“When I have some problems with a player, the media or my technical team, I think what he would have done,” Guardiola said at an event hosted by I Acto de Homenaje Amigos de Johan.”It’s impossible to guess, but I like to play that game, because he was the only one to solve that kind of things.”

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