Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola will reignite their long-term rivalry in Beijing on Monday, as managers of Manchester United and Manchester City respectively. While Chinese fans are eagerly awaiting the rare chance to see the two Premier League heavyweights battle it out in China.
The Bird's Nest Stadium will host the meeting between the two local rivals, and will provide a taster of what to expect in the Premier League, this upcoming campaign. However, Mourinho has quashed having any interest in taking the bragging rights from his rival in the opposition dugout, amid concerns about the fixture.
As reported by The Sun, Mourinho has voiced his concern with the playing surface at the Bird's Nest, insisting he is solely focused on ensuring his players avoid picking up injury on what he has branded a "very bad" playing surface.
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“The pitch is very bad and the pitch and condition of my players is more important in pre-season. The problem for me are the bad conditions to play and train." said Mourinho.
“My only objective is to take the players home safe and without injury.
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“These are no conditions to play a good game of football.
“If it was a friendly it becomes a double friendly now. No injuries, play calm, play safe, go home and keep the preparation for next week.”
United are competing in the International Champions Cup, however, the 53-year-old is already thinking about returning to Old Trafford, and finalising his preparations before the Premier League season gets away on August 13.
Mourinho has slammed the quality of the facilities in China, although he accepts the importance, commercially, for the Red Devils, who have numerous partners and sponsors in the East Asia.
“I want to go to Manchester and train with the whole group, play Galatasaray and Everton before we play Leicester." Mourinho added.
“The positive of being here in China is the fans and the commercial activity. Sometimes there are factors you cannot control.
“We have a good group and spirit and we cope with it. Tomorrow is the last day and it is over."
Mourinho saw his side slump to a 4-1 defeat to Borussia Dortmund, during United's first fixture in the International Champions Cup, with Henrik Mkhitaryan scoring against the club he left for Old Trafford this summer.
But with the United boss more concerned about his players' fitness, with Wayne Rooney having suffered a knee injury in February that kept him out for around two months, getting a positive result is the least of his concerns.
Although, undoubtedly the former Real Madrid boss would enjoy getting a win against Guardiola, who he failed to see eye-to-eye with during the City boss' time in charge of Barcelona.
Is Jose Mourinho right to have concerns about the Bird's Nest Stadium's playing surface? Have your say in the comment box below.