Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola will renew their rivalry in the north-west city next term and the world can’t wait to see what drama unfolds.
Neither manager has spoken out about the prospect of going head-to-head with one another in the Premier League next season - until today. Mourinho, speaking at Lisbon University, explained why he won’t be focusing on Guardiola and why he doesn’t expect the Catalan coach to focus on him.
SUBMIT AN ARTICLE
Apply to become a GMS writer by signing up and submitting a 250-word test article: https://gms.to/haveyoursay5
“[What has happened in the past] does not allow me to be innocent. For two years Pep and I were in a league where the champion would be either me or him, Real Madrid or Barcelona,” Mourinho was quoted as saying by the Guardian.
“In a situation like this, individual fights make sense because they can influence things. [But] in the Premier League, if I focus on him and Manchester City, and he on me and Manchester United, someone else is going to win the league.”
Guardiola v Mourinho in La Liga
Mourinho and Guardiola spent three seasons slogging it out against each other while managing Real Madrid and Barcelona, respectively.
In their 11 meetings, Guardiola won five times, four matches ended all square, while Mourinho secured two victories.
In their first Clasico battle, back in November 2010, Mourinho found himself on the end of a humiliating 5-0 defeat at the Camp Nou.
Things became personal
Over the next two years, the battle between the two coaches - who were colleagues at Barcelona and considered each other friends - became increasingly personal.
"Up until now there was a very small group of coaches who didn't talk about referees and a larger group who did," said Mourinho ahead of a Champions League encounter between the two clubs in 2011. "Now, with Pep's comments, we have started a new era with a third group, featuring only one person, a man who criticises [the referee] when he makes good decisions. This is completely new to me."
Infuriated by Mourinho’s comments, Pep fired back in a later press conference: "As senor Mourinho has called me Pep, I'm going to call him Jose.
"Tomorrow at 8.45pm we will face each other on the pitch. Off the pitch he's won. He's been winning off the pitch all season. Let them give him a Champions League for it so he can enjoy it and take it home. In the press room he is 'el p*** jefe' (the ******* boss) and the one who knows more than everyone else."
While Mourinho insists he won’t be focusing on Guardiola, don’t be too surprised if the relationship between the two men hits an all-time low in Manchester.
Who will do the better job: Mourinho at United or Guardiola at City? Have your say by leaving a comment below.