That run of games showed just how strong the group was, to win them all and take the Premier League title, having already won the League Cup at Wembley.
It was an amazing year. Unforgettable times in my life as a manager.
Coming into a new league, you might need time to adjust. Luckily, having been in Europe for many years I already had a great understanding. Maybe there were a lot of doubters, but to win the Premier League in that first year – with the ideas I had about football, and then instilling them in the team – was just so satisfying.
I think we were able to combine the very direct style of play in England with possession football. Not exaggerated possession, because you have to respect the idiosyncrasy of the English fans, who like the direct approach – the second ball, the crosses into the box, the finish.
What we had was a mixture of the football I had practised my whole career with something a bit more direct, which the English league requires.
I did make one mistake in my time at City, though.
“As much as you don’t want it to be this way, the group has a tendency to relax. To start thinking about the next step”
I said I would end my contract after three years. After that, I said we would see. Not just for me and my career, but because of Ferran and Txiki’s plans to carry on their strategy with Pep Guardiola, who they had worked with at Barcelona for a long time.
There is a lot of trust between those two and myself, so I was always kept in the loop about the plans to try and bring Guardiola to the club. I knew that if he hadn’t wanted to come to City for any reason, they weren’t going to interview for a manager. They would come straight to me.
But I learned something from the experience in my final season. It’s the same in the case of Sir Alex Ferguson. With all the experience and influence he had at Manchester United, he made his first retirement announcement several months early. I think he always described it as a mistake in his career. I also describe mine as a mistake.
Because, as much as you don’t want it to be this way, the group has a tendency to relax. To start thinking about the next step.
That’s why I say that as a manager you have to keep on learning. Carry on reading.