Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola says the club is excited to take part in their first Club World Cup.
City’s first match in Saudi Arabia will be on 19 December against either Mexico’s Club Leon or Japan’s Urawa Red Diamonds.
Guardiola in a chat with Marca, said, “We’ve never been there as you had to win the Champions League, first time we have done it. I think the players [will be ready]. I have been there a few times before, the first game is so tricky.
“People talk about the final but I struggled with Barcelona it was not easy to do it. The first against an Argentine team was so difficult, we won in 1992… We will go there and prepare because for us it is a dream.”
He added: “The mood in the team is the best I can remember for many, many years. It’s really good, it’s a joy to manage this group of players.”
Under Guardiola’s predecessor Frank Rijkaard, Barcelona were known for a 4–3–3 with plenty of flair with Ronaldinho being the centre point of the attack. Under Guardiola, however, the team became more disciplined with a greater focus on possession and a disciplined and aggressive pressing style.
The leader in defence was Rafael Márquez who created chances from the back with his long balls. He often played a high defensive line with the full backs (particularly Dani Alves) pushing high up their respective sides while relying on the passing of Xavi and Andrés Iniesta to retain possession and employing a pressing style without the ball.
During striker Samuel Eto’o’s time at Barcelona, Lionel Messi was deployed on the right hand side, though following his departure Messi largely played in the centre forward role in a false nine capacity. Pep Guardiola was quoted by Thierry Henry as “asking for discipline in possession of the ball in the first two-thirds of the pitch, and then giving players the freedom (and accountability) to finish it off in the last third of the pitch” in his time with Barcelona.