Guardiola hits back at Gary Neville over Premier League title claims

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The former Manchester United defender suggested the Catalan would be unable to win titles in English football by playing his style of football

Pep Guardiola has hit back at Gary Neville after the former Manchester United defender suggested the Catalan would not be able to win the Premier League by playing his preferred style.

Neville spent his entire playing career at United and pointed out earlier this week that only strong and physical teams have won titles in England.

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The former England coach and Valencia boss also said he would be surprised if Guardiola's possession-oriented approach would ultimately prove successful. 

The Manchester City boss, who has often suggested he is unhappy with the standard of refereeing in the Premier League, says football on the continent is just as physical as it is in England, but the only difference is that English officials are happy to let fouls go.

And he says only footballers who have played in several countries should be able to make such comparisons.

"Gary Neville played in England, he didn’t play in another country so he can’t compare," he told reporters at a press conference on Friday. "He was a manager in another country, but not as a player.

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"I think it’s physical because of the way the referees conduct the games, you have to be more physical, but we are not talking about, for example, in Germany that the people are not physical, or another country. I don’t know, I can imagine going to San Sebastian or Bilbao or Atletico Madrid, they are physical. It’s quite similar [everywhere].

"They play more often here, the fouls which are fouls all around the world are not fouls here, contact is more allowed. That is the only difference I have found. The game is 11 v 11 so I think football is one ball and what quality you have, the more mentally strong you are the [more] chance you have to win the games.

"But sometimes to compare here and there, my advice has to be [you should] play in other countries to know that. He was lucky to play at Manchester United, and win a lot of titles."