Ilkay Gundogan admits that he joined Manchester City to take in the Pep Guardiola experience, and the German midfielder has not been disappointed.
A move to the Etihad Stadium was made by the 29-year-old back in 2016 when he was the first signing completed by Guardiola as Blues boss, with a £20 million ($26m) deal taking him to England from Bundesliga giants Borussia Dortmund.
Gundogan was aware that a switch to the Premier League would see him forced to adapt to the demands of one of the most passionate coaches in the business.
That was part of the appeal for a talented playmaker, with five major honours in Manchester justifying his decision.
Gundogan told the kicker meets DAZN podcast of Guardiola: “If everything is new to you, it is more difficult to understand him. Not only on a football level, but also on a personal level.
“You hear about plenty of players who love him. There are also those who have had trouble with him.
“I prefer to get my own picture of people and Pep was the main reason that I moved to City. I am very happy with how things have gone, both personally and in a sporting sense.”
Gundogan previously worked with Jurgen Klopp at Dortmund, another larger-than-life character, and acknowledges there are similarities between the now Liverpool manager and a domestic rival at City.
He added on Guardiola: “At our first meeting we talked a lot about football. But he also really likes to talk about private issues. He always asks in one-on-one discussions about how the family is doing and how things are going, it is important to him.
“When David Silva's son had health problems two years ago, it affected him, he suffered a lot.
“As a coach, he demands a lot from his players. But it has to be like that as a world-class coach. It was similar under Klopp in Dortmund. That’s an important quality for a coach.”
Over time, Gundogan has fully adjusted to Guardiola’s methods, with the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss famed for the dedication he puts into preparing for matches.
On the 49-year-old’s team talks, Gundogan said: “We trust ourselves to play to our strengths against every opponent.
“We also talk about the positive things of the opponent rather than the negative things.
“Of course there are the lists and PowerPoint presentations for every player and a few negative points. But Pep does not mention them in the speech, it is more about the overall tactics. The motto is not to underestimate any opponent.”
The Blues are, however, still chasing down FA Cup and Carabao Cup honours, while a heavyweight meeting with Real Madrid is fast approaching in the last 16 of the Champions League.