England midfielder Fabian Delph says he has learned more during his short time under new Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola than over the rest of his career.
Delph endured an injury-ravaged debut season at the Etihad Stadium last term and was felt in some quarters to have an uncertain future after Guardiola replaced Manuel Pellegrini at the helm.
But the 26-year-old, who missed out on a place in England’s ill-fated Euro 2016 campaign, has relished working under the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss and lavished praise on his methods.
“When I first met the new manager, I did feel a bit of a lift. He’s been fantastic from day one, knew everybody’s names from day one,” Delph told BBC Sport as City prepare for Monday’s International Champions Cup clash against Manchester United in Beijing.
“The systems that he’s trying to implement are unbelievable, the intensity that he’s brought to the group is frightening. He’s a perfectionist and, to be fair, everyone is pulling together and trying to implement what he wants us to do on the training field.
“It’s been a big learning curve. I’d say I’ve learnt more in these three weeks than I have throughout my whole career. It’s been amazing for me and I’m really looking forward to the rest of the season.”
City limped to a fourth-place finish last year, having finished a distant second to Chelsea in 2014-15 as Pellegrini failed to build on a memorable title triumph in his first season in charge.
Guardiola is famed for his teams’ fluid attacking football but experienced full-back Gael Clichy believe the Catalan coach will bring added steel to a side who were defensively suspect for much of Pellegrini’s reign.
“What he wants is for his team to play offensive football and for that he wants the full-backs to support without getting beat when we lose the ball,” Clichy explained on City’s official website.
“That’s something new as before we were quite open and if you look at our games from last year we were conceding a lot of goals on the counter-attack because we were an offensive team and open. I guess he’s trying to make us as offensive as previous years but just as solid at the back.
“He doesn’t want the onus to just be on the back four to defend but it’s the responsibility of the whole team to get the ball back quickly when we lose it. We will see how it goes but it’s a very good start – we’ve enjoyed every single session with and without the ball.
Clichy added: “It’s an amazing time to be here – he’s the kind of manager who will make you a better player whether you’re a goalkeeper, a defender, a midfielder or a striker.”
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