2019-08-24 by W.M.
Manchester City news: Pep Guardiola thought David Silva would fail in English football
Pep Guardiola has admitted he did not believe David Silva would succeed in England when his captain first moved to Manchester City.
Silva will make his 400th appearance for City this weekend if he plays against Bournemouth on Sunday, nine years after arriving from Valencia for £24m.
The 33-year-old is set to call time on his City career at the end of the season and will leave as one of the most influential players in the club’s history.
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When it was put to Guardiola that some doubted such a technical player’s ability to survive a physical English style, the City manager said: “Me included.
“I think it’s his character. It’s not just the quality of moving in small spaces. He’s a huge competitor in training sessions, in games, on the field. How he reacts to the bad moments.
“He’s a huge competitor. With his specific qualities, surviving in the Premier League is not easy for a long time. He did it. He should be so proud of what he has done.
“He’s a technical player, he’s not playing box-to-box. My image of England from the outside, I thought: ‘Maybe he’s going to suffer’. But I was happily, happily wrong.
Silva joined City during Roberto Mancini’s spell in charge, winning a Premier League title under the Italian in 2012.
Another followed with Manuel Pellegrini in 2014, before Guardiola’s arrival two years later and two further league titles.
“All the period he was here, he’s played well with all the managers, Roberto, Manuel and with us. He’s really good.
“After I spoke to managers he had in Spain and everybody said what I realised here afterwards. People believe he has quality with the ball but it’s more than that.
“He has this incredible competitive feeling, like a winner. He won four Premier Leagues, a lot of domestic prizes.
“This generation of players – like Joe Hart, Vincent Kompany, Sergio Aguero, I could say many names, you know which names – helps this club make a better position here in the Premier League and in European competition.”