Andoni Iraola has told AS that AFC Bournemouth followed him at Rayo Vallecano for a while before appointing him as their new manager last summer.

The Spaniard spent three years at Rayo and played a key role in helping them get promoted to the top flight in his first season. His work at the La Liga side convinced the Cherries to bring him to the Vitality Stadium.

Iraola revealed this when asked to provide a background on his move to Bournemouth.

“There were two different decisions: the first was to leave Rayo Vallecano, which I discussed with the club during the season and before the end of the season I made the decision; and then, when the Bournemouth option arose, it was quite clear to me. They had followed me during my time at Rayo,” he said.

The 41-year-old had a difficult start to his coaching career in England as Bournemouth failed to register a win in their first nine league games.

There were rumours of the Premier League side could part ways with the manager but that didn’t happen. Bournemouth are currently 13th in the table, seven points behind 10th placed Chelsea.

When asked how he experienced the rough phase earlier in the season, Iraola explained: “At all times I felt the support of the club. Time proved us right and we achieved a very positive streak of results. We probably weren’t that bad at the beginning and we weren’t that good later.”

Last December, Bournemouth sealed a 3-0 win over Manchester United at Old Trafford, and AS asked him whether this is the most important result of his managerial career.

He said: “I would put it high because of the stage and the rival, but not like the promotion match against Girona. A promotion changes the future of a club. Winning at Old Trafford, and with the forcefulness that we did, is a very beautiful and unforgettable memory.”

Iraola has heaped praise on Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola and also the work done by other Spanish managers in the Premier League.

“The best thing is to have the opportunity to face him [Guardiola], the best coach or one of the best in the world. It is one of the reasons why I am in the Premier, to be able to face these types of coaches,” Iraola added.

“I have to thank those who have been there before. The fact that Spanish coaches come, have good performances and are successful, makes it easier for the next ones to come.”