The Manchester City manager spoke about the former Premier League champions, his team selection and signing of players and more.
Indian Super League (ISL) outfit Mumbai City FC have apparently appointed Ajin Jacob as their new CEO. It was Pep Guardiola – the manager of Premier League giants Manchester City, who revealed the name and details of their sister club’s latest appointment, in a virtual chat with Virat Kohli on Wednesday.
The event held via Instagram was hosted by sports giants Puma and saw the Indian cricket team captain talking to the likes of Guardiola, Sunil Chhetri, MC Mary Kom and KL Rahul. It was during Kohli’s interaction with Guardiola that the latter mentioned Jacob’s name before revealing that he would be the new CEO of the Islanders.
“Mumbai City will be a part of our family – The City Football Group (CFG),” the 49-year-old told Kohli and further added, “I know one person, I met him at Manchester, ‘AJ’ he would be the CEO there.”
It is understood that ‘AJ’ stands for Ajin Jacob. Having previously worked with EFL Championship side Huddersfield Town, Jacob joined CFG six years ago, starting out as a regional manager before picking up more prominent roles in the company. In April 2018, he was appointed the Senior Commercial Manager at CFG and it now appears that he will continue working for them as the new CEO of Mumbai City FC.
During the 30-minute-long chat with Kohli, Guardiola also covered other aspects of football and sports in general. “I have never visited India so far,” he revealed, before adding that he will do so, soon after the pandemic is over.
Royal Challengers Bangalore star Kohli’s first question to Pep Guardiola was about how the Citizens won back-to-back Premier League titles in 2017-18 and 2018-19. “As a manager, you do have some say in the team, but winning matches and titles do not happen if the intent isn’t seen in every single player,” he replied to the Indian skipper’s query.
“We face a lot of quality teams in the league, Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal and so on. We played well against them and won the league in 2018, but in 2019 it’s a whole new challenge. The same intent had to be seen again, if we had to win the trophy. Luckily, I had a lot of players who were able to carry my vision forward,” he went on.
Upon being asked about his approach to signing new players in the transfer window, Pep Guardiola said that he looks at a player’s character first, before judging his skills. “Character sets a player apart. Most players we target have similar sets of skills, so the difference between the players we sign and don’t sign would be their character. How they handle pressure in tough situations? How hungry they are to win? How positive they are and how well they motivate the rest of the team?”
The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss also spoke on the importance of fans, irrespective of the sport. “Currently, we are playing behind closed-doors. I’m aware that the IPL is also happening in the same way. Sports without fans is a very different world. It is very strange and it is like playing a friendly game every time,” he said.
“As of now, I still cannot imagine having to play without fans for the next few months. I hope they return to the stadiums fast, so that they can give our players some encouragement and motivate them to win matches.”
Meanwhile, Manchester City’s sister club Mumbai City themselves are getting ready for the upcoming 2020-21 season of the ISL and have already made a lot of impressive new signings as well as staff appointments, in a bid to challenge for the title. They recently confirmed the appointment of Sergio Lobera as their new head coach and also announced the acquisitions of Mandar Rao Dessai and Vikram Partap Singh.