Sacchi compared Guardiola to ex-Ajax and Barcelona coaches Rinus Michels and Johan Cruyff. Listen to the latest episode and subscribe to the podcast on Deezer and iTunes.

“He has carried forward total football even more”, Sacchi said.

“We’re friends. We’ve known each other for a long time”. He’s an obsessive, a perfectionist, he thinks deeply about football. My football is a belief in total football.

The 26-year-old Germany global midfielder has made two Premier League appearances for City this season having returned from a nine-month knee injury lay-off as a substitute in the 6-0 Premier League win at Watford on September 16. “I said to him, ‘Without Rinus Michels, there would have been no Cruyff and no Guardiola today'”.

City went into the second worldwide break of the season on a high after beating Chelsea 1-0 at Stamford Bridge and could break away from the rest of the pack this weekend, as they host Stoke City a few hours after Manchester United face a hard trip to Anfield.

“It’s a very exacting league”, the Italian explained.

“I watched Chelsea vs Manchester City and it seemed like a different sport”.

“I know Stoke are uncomfortable to play against and I know English people often refer to playing Stoke away as one of the toughest games of the season”.

“In my next life, I want to coach in England!”

The club are also directing huge investment in the construction of their new stadium on the site of White Hart Lane, which is due to be ready for the start of next season.

United, behind City only on goal difference, invested close to £150m on Romelu Lukaku, Nemanja Matic and Victor Lindelof as they continued their recent trend of massive pre-season spending.