Aymeric Laporte has hailed the impact of assistant first team coach Mikel Arteta ahead of Manchester City’s opening Champions League group game at home to Lyon tomorrow night.
With manager Pep Guardiola serving a one-match touchline ban, former Arsenal and Everton midfielder Arteta will take charge of the team for Wednesday’s Group F encounter at the Etihad.
And asked about the difference of having Mikel guiding the team on from the sidelines instead of the familiar figure of Pep, French central defender Laporte described both Guardiola and Arteta as a ‘pleasure to work with.’
Said Laporte: “Normally the coach is on the bench, but we know what we need to do and we get plenty of guidance from Mikel who works with us every day. That helps us a lot.
“We get on well with Mikel. He was a terrific player and he spends a lot of time with us.
“He knows what a player is thinking so I think he’s a great coach.
“We are a competitive team and we have plenty of people who will help us tomorrow.
“Mikel and Pep are very complementary, and they have both have lived and breathed football.
“They have a huge amount of experience and they share that with us.
Looking ahead to the visit of the French Ligue One side and City’s prospects in the Champions League as a whole, Laporte – who has started every game for the Club so far this season – said the squad’s sole focus was on progressing as far as possible.
And he insisted it was impossible to make comparisons between City and formidable European rivals such as holders Real Madrid, Barcelona and Athletic Madrid.
Laporte added: “We want to go as far as possible. With our team we are capable of achieving a lot. We want to make sure we get as far as possible.
“I don’t think I can compare us to Barcelona, Real Madrid or Atletico (Madrid). All teams have top players and we are still a top, solid team.
“We are still in a development phase and that is what we want to carry on doing.
“We've studied Lyon, and I’m well acquainted with them as I’m French.
“We will be working today and tomorrow, and we know a lot already and know their players. We will see how things turn out tomorrow.”