Claude Puel issued high praise towards Pep Guardiola ahead of Southampton’s clash with Manchester City this Saturday.
The two managers will pit their teams against each other at St Mary’s, but it is not just this season that their paths have crossed.
"Of course, to play against a great manager is very interesting,” said Puel at his pre-match press conference.
"We played in the Champions League [in 2009] also. I know Pep from when he started with Barcelona. We played against him with Lyon. He was a young trainer, but his team was fantastic.
"We got a draw at home and, unfortunately, we lost 5-2 at Barcelona, but it was fantastic to see his team, his players, the good play, the good recovery of the ball high up the pitch.
"I think Pep Guardiola changed all of football and gave more opportunities for trainers to think about their football, like recovering the ball high up the pitch.
“We can see all the teams now trying to put this in place and to have good possession.
"I have a lot of respect for Pep. He has a philosophy of football that I like. I like when the team tries to have possession and to give always the good response on the game, with quality.
“We can see the different profile of players – for example, they are always technical and intelligent. He is an example for a lot of trainers."