By Joe Bernstein for The Mail on Sunday
Published: 01:06 GMT, 10 January 2021 | Updated: 01:06 GMT, 10 January 2021
Aitor Karanka sees a different Pep Guardiola to the one he faced at the peak of hostilities between Clasico rivals Real Madrid and Barcelona.
Karanka was part of Jose Mourinho’s coaching staff a decade ago when they went to war with Guardiola in order to disrupt his brand of tiki-taka football.Insurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer
It should be calmer at The Etihad Stadium today where Karanka’s Birmingham will be massive underdogs sitting 18th in The Championship. He also thinks Guardiola has become more tactically flexible since coming to work in England.
Aitor Karanka will hope to lead Birmingham City to FA Cup victory at Manchester City
‘He is more complete now. At Barcelona or even City when he first arrived, he had one style,’ explained Karanka.
‘My Middlesbrough team drew 1-1 at The Etihad in his first year (2016). They played just one way, try to pass.
‘Now they are better. They have the same skills, they can still keep the ball, but also have players to run in behind and do transitions.
‘They can challenge for the first ball and win that second ball to hurt you. It’s even harder to play against them than in the past because they have more variety.’
Karanka believes his