Having been overlooked for the vacant Arsenal position before the season, Mikel Arteta will get the chance to stand in for Pep Guardiola in Manchester City’s Champions League opener.
City face Lyon at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday but they will do so without their talismanic manager, who is serving a suspension following his sending off in the quarter-final second-leg defeat at the hands of Liverpool last April.
Arteta faced the media on Tuesday and fielded questions on his own managerial ambitions, as well as City’s plans for coping without the influence of their figurehead in the dugout.
Having spent five years at Arsenal as a player, Arteta was widely thought to be a candidate to replace the departing Arsene Wenger in the off-season, only for former Paris Saint-Germain boss Unai Emery to be given the job.
“In football it’s so hard to predict things, when things happen you have to make a decision, the decision was made and I’m so happy and privileged to be where I am.
“I feel very fulfilled with the job at the moment. If you ask me in future will I become a coach the answer is probably yes but I’m really happy where I am and I think we’re in a fantastic momentum now and there’s still room for this club to grow.”
Although Guardiola’s role will be heavily restricted on Wednesday, Arteta confirmed that City’s build-up to their Group F opener had been no different than usual.
“Up to now the preparation has been completely normal, the difference tomorrow is obviously there are some rules that we will respect,” Arteta said. “I will be on the touchline and try to make the right decisions and for the rest nothing will change.
“It’s a good challenge. If I had to choose, I would choose Pep to be on the touchline because he does that better than anyone else. We will try to reduce the impact and give the players what they need and hopefully it will work well.
“[Guardiola] is very disappointed, we know how much the Champions League means for him. It’s the first match and it’s vital for the group stage but he had a reaction to something that happened in a big game, they made a decision, we respect that and this is the situation. He wouldn’t choose it but this is what’s happening, I’m here to try to do my best.”