England's Current Best Coach Is But Human.......... Enter how Pep Guardiola Unwinds
Pep Guardiola does what many Mancunians do when they want to watch a match … and pops down to his local boozer!
The Manchester City boss has declared himself perfectly happy with life in the city, and backed that up by signing a three-year contract extension.
And, despite spending the previous nine years of his coaching career in beautiful Barcelona and historic, beery Munich, Guardiola has grown to love Manchester.
That is according to his former assistant and close friend Domenec Torrent, who this summer ended their 11-year working relationship to strike out on his own at New York City.
Until then, the two men lived five minutes walk apart, with Torrent at No. 1 Deansgate and Guardiola just across the River Irwell in one of the luxury apartments at City Suites.
Torrent revealed that friends warned him, Guardiola and the rest of their tight-knit Catalan coaching staff not to quit Bayern for ugly, “industrial” Manchester, but they decided to see for themselves.
“I was surprised about Manchester because many people before when we lived in Munich would say ‘Oh no , it’s horrible’,” said Torrent, who this week had a reunion with Guardiola, with City on a five-day New York stop as part of their US tour.
“Many people said that, but it’s a good city to live. People said it was industrial . Maybe 20 years ago, but now it’s amazing. All those industrial buildings are now apartments.”
And when one reporter reminded Torrent that Manchester United keeper David De Gea's partner had complained that the city looked like “the back of a fridge”, Torrent laughed and said: “He is happy to live there, but it was a surprise for me.
“Ok, maybe the weather. I accept that - in Spain , even in Munich the weather is much better.
“We cannot change the weather. But when you get used to it - you say OK.
“In Manchester, you have the same jacket and use it in February and then the rest of
“The first time we came to Manchester with Pep in July and every day it rained. We were saying ‘How is this possible?'”
But Guardiola loves Manchester's music scene, enjoying the fact that there are a myriad gigs, plays and events happening every night.
He is a jazz fan, like Torrent, and the New York boss revealed that the two of them would play soft background music while they plotted the destruction of football opponents.
“Just relaxing music - jazz, maybe Sade. Not rock music,” said Torrent.
“Pep loves music in general and I am the same. We worked in the office always with music on. Not the saxophone though.
“We can create a big band, because in Manchester with the staff, there are least three or four who play the guitar, piano.
“Mikel Arteta? He’s the singer.”
The 56-year-old, who first hooked up with Guardiola in his first coaching job in Barcelona's B team in 2007, and has been very close to the City boss ever since.
And they would both explore Manchester, and further afield: “We lived in the centre but when we had time off we liked to visit other places - York, the Lake District, sometimes London and Wales. I like to know other places.
“Especially at City I liked Heaton Park.
“We liked to explore and see new cities and places. Every single day in Manchester we went to the city, the canals.”
English food often takes a panning from foreign footballers, but Torrent said that he and Guardiola love Manchester restaurants - although the gaffer has just opened his own place, Catalan eaterie Tast, on King Street.
(Image: Eamonn and James Clarke)
Torrent singled out Brazilian joint Fazenda, a regular haunt of Blues midfield hero Fernandinho, while they also frequented several top Italian restaurants, and legendary Chinese venues Yang Sing and Wing's.
They were not even put off by the decorations on the wall in Wing's, a regular haunt of United stars
“The pictures up there - Park, Van Gaal. We didn't have our picture up,” said Torrent with a smile.
“Fish and chips was amazing, traditional English. Vinny Kompany told me about it and it was amazing.
“We had two amazing years in Manchester. We were comfortable in the city.
“It's a lot different. For Pep in Barcelona it's not easy for him to walk the streets, or go to the cinema. So many people are like 'Pep! Pep!
“In Manchester like Munich, people respect you and ask for photos and autographs only if you have time.”
But where did Guardiola and Torrent go to watch games, when City were not playing?
“With Pep and Mikel, many times we went to watch the Premier League or Champions League in the restaurant – Juan Mata's restaurant,” he said, referring to the vibrant Deansgate eaterie Tapeo.
“We'd have a private room with a TV and we did it many times. Yes it's Manchester United but it's Juan Mata - and he's a friend.
“It was not a problem for Pep to walk the streets to go to the restaurants, it's not a problem.
“It's very different in Barcelona because he was a legend and people had a lot of passion for Pep.”
* STORY COURTESY : MANCHESTER EVENING NEWS