sport

Pedro hails Guardiola impact

Barcelona striker Pedro is determined to repay the faith former manager Pep Guardiola had in him by staying at Camp Nou.

The 26-year-old is a graduate of the renowned Barcelona youth system and has expressed his gratitude to Guardiola, who gave him his first break.

Since debuting against Real Murcia in 2008, Pedro has established himself as a first-team regular, making 155 appearances and scoring 50 goals in the process.

However, upon learning Guardiola would be leaving the club in 2013, Pedro admits his future was in question.

"We had a long conversation before he left the club and I thanked him," he told the Daily Mail.

"When a coach trusts you enough to take you out of the youth side and put you into the first team of one of the best sides in the world, it's not an easy decision.

"Perhaps without Guardiola's support I would have lost heart and looked for a solution away from the club."

Competition

Pedro finds himself surrounded by world-class players but a return of 17 goals so far this season has proved his worth to the side.

The Spain international understands the competition for places is fierce but believes after Guardiola's display of confidence, remaining at the club is the right thing to do.

"Now we have Alexis [Sanchez], [Lionel] Messi and Neymar here and another big-name player will probably arrive in the summer," he added.

"The competition for places never stops.

"I owe it to Pep for taking a chance on a young kid but it was still down to me to take that opportunity."

Guardiola flew the Barcelona nest and eventually joined Bayern Munich after a spell out of the game but Pedro paid homage to the coach's inspiring methodology.

"He never changed the way he was as a person or the way he worked," the striker admitted.

"The motivational videos, the detailed analysis of the rivals, the constant offering up of solutions."

Prepared

Pedro's next test with be a UEFA Champions League showdown with Premier League giants Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday.

City owner Sheikh Mansour is eager to emulate the systems in place at the Nou Camp, especially in blooding young talent, and Barcelona striker Pedro believes the acquisition of director Txiki Begiristain - who oversaw his first contract with the Spanish club - is a shrewd move.

"It's hard to put the model in place but there are directors at City who have been here and I'm sure that some years from now they will be able to achieve their goals," he said.

"I hope it goes well for him because he is a good guy. He was always someone I could confide in."

Barcelona primed themselves for a trip to Manchester with a 6-0 mauling of Rayo Vallecano in La Liga and Pedro understands the threat posed by the Premier League side.

"We will be prepared. We have definitely drawn the worst team possible but knowing how strong they are will just make us more focused than ever," he added.