We are both good guys - Guardiola happy to bury Mourinho rows

By Sports Desk November 09, 2018

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola described old foe Jose Mourinho as a "good guy" ahead of this weekend's Manchester derby.

United boss Mourinho has clashed with Guardiola numerous times over the years, with their previously intense rivalry dating back to when they coached Real Madrid and Barcelona respectively.

Mourinho was widely assumed to have been annoyed by Barca's decision to appoint Guardiola over himself in 2008 and the pair had a number of fractious encounters during their time together in LaLiga.

A Clasico clash provided the nadir when Mourinho poked a finger into the eye of Guardiola's assistant Tito Vilanova during a touchline fracas.

But since they took charge at United and City the relationship between Mourinho and Guardiola appears more cordial, with the Catalan happy to avoid the rows of the past.

"Thank you so much. Thank you," Guardiola said when asked if he was pleased the pre-match focus was not placed on the perceived battle between himself and Mourinho.

"At the end we are both good guys, more than you expect. It's much better, believe me."

United cross Manchester on Sunday following successive comeback wins, a 2-1 triumph at Bournemouth followed by a stunning Champions League victory at Serie A giants Juventus by the same scoreline.

Juan Mata's free-kick got United back on terms after Cristiano Ronaldo opened the scoring, with Leonardo Bonucci's own goal in the 89th minute then earning United a famous victory in Group H.

"No team wins in Turin in the last nine years, how strong Juventus are," Guardiola said of United's eye-catching result.

"They had a problem for 10 minutes after Cristiano's goal but they were so stable with a lot of commitment, aggressive without the ball. A few weeks ago at Stamford Bridge [against Chelsea], one of the toughest places, they almost won.

"It's always complicated. In our history of Manchester City it's hard to beat United and they beat us more times but it's a good rivalry and a good chance for three points.

"We will try especially to have a good game. We'll speak with the players about what we guess will happen and suggest what we should do to win the game.

"We have to play good, only one challenge in football is to play good, and have more chance to win. The top teams, you cannot imagine and think about it, play amazingly for 90 minutes and they don't have chances."

United also came from behind to win at the Etihad Stadium in April, denying City the chance to clinch the Premier League title in the Manchester derby with a stunning 3-2 victory.

"The first 75 minutes in the last game, I'd like to play the same, top for 75 minutes, but United showed us last season they need 10, 15, 20 minutes to create a lot of chances," Guardiola said.

"The sensation when they have the ball with players in front, wow, they have incredible talent in front and the middle. You have to defend deep and well, defend crosses well because they are so strong and better than us at set-pieces.

"Bring our game and control as much as possible, be clinical - that's the game we will try to do."

Related items

  • No war with Manchester United over Fellaini, insists Martinez No war with Manchester United over Fellaini, insists Martinez

    Roberto Martinez insists there is no "war" with Manchester United over the fitness of their Belgian players, despite Marouane Fellaini's quick return to action.

    Fellaini was not available for selection for Belgium's upcoming matches with Iceland and Switzerland due to a lack of fitness following a groin problem.

    However, United boss Jose Mourinho was forced to start Fellaini for Sunday's Manchester derby due to a thigh injury suffered by Paul Pogba.

    Despite not being fit for international duty, Fellaini played the full 90 minutes in United's 3-1 defeat, which could have left Martinez wondering why he was not allowed to call on the 30-year-old.

    But the former Everton boss has no problems with United's decision and rejected claims there was tension between the two parties.

    "What happened with Marouane Fellaini is something that happens constantly in dressing rooms," he told a media conference.

    "Due to the circumstances, he had to play, and it's incredible to see him playing 90 minutes at an incredible level, so for us it is fantastic news. 

    "We made a decision last Friday about the squad with information we had on all the players and it is a good opportunity to carry on with the plans that we have. 

    "But knowing that Marouane played 90 minutes at the weekend is good to know, it means that he is getting very close to being fully fit and if he is needed he will always be available to the national team. 

    "The two medical departments had very good conversations and the best decision is the one we took. There's been nothing strange about the situation of Marouane.

    "It's good to see he got through the 90 minutes. We are delighted he is getting [back] to his best level, the same way that we were disappointed he couldn't participate with us in the previous camp because of the niggles.

    "That was a disappointment we shared with his club. We are working all together, this is not a war [with Manchester United], this is not a situation where we are trying to get revenge over anyone."

    Another United star, Romelu Lukaku, will be rested for Thursday's friendly with Iceland as he continues his recovery from a hamstring strain.

    But Martinez could use the striker against Switzerland as Belgium look to reach the Nations League Finals.

    "Romelu will train today with the group," added Martinez. "He's had a very positive reaction so we'll take it day by day, see how he feels and we'll take it [him playing] into consideration."

  • Reus and Kroos to sit out Germany's clash with Russia Reus and Kroos to sit out Germany's clash with Russia

    Marco Reus and Toni Kroos will sit out Germany's friendly match with Russia on Thursday, head coach Joachim Low has confirmed.

    Borussia Dortmund forward Reus has a bruised foot and is due to take part in light training with a view to being available for the Nations League meeting with Netherlands on Monday.

    Kroos, who is yet to link up with the squad, will be given extra time to rest.

    "Marco Reus can't train at the moment and unfortunately he is not available for the game against Russia," Low told a news conference.

    "He is scheduled to do light running training on Thursday, but we have to look at it from day to day.

    "Toni gets a few days off."

    Low expects a difficult match against World Cup quarter-finalists Russia, as Germany look to restore some order following a run of just two wins in their last seven outings.

    Relegation from League A of the Nations League a real possibility, but Low is not too anxious ahead of his side's final two games of 2018.

    "We're in a phase of upheaval. France was an important indicator for the next few months. The result tomorrow [Thursday] is not so crucial," he said.

    "Russia are back to the level they had in 2008. They're a very disciplined side, very aggressive in defence and dangerous on the counter. The coach's influence on the team is clear to see.

    "We've made the mistake of regarding the Nations League too highly. A relegation wouldn't be the end of the world, either.

    "If we go down, we have to accept it and then the focus is on qualification [for Euro 2020]."

  • Van Dijk happy to recommend De Ligt if Liverpool ask Van Dijk happy to recommend De Ligt if Liverpool ask

    Virgil van Dijk would give his Netherlands defensive partner Matthijs de Ligt a glowing reference should Liverpool want to add him to Jurgen Klopp's squad.

    De Ligt's reputation has gone from strength to strength since making his Ajax debut in 2016 and establishing himself at the heart of the club's defence.

    A first international call-up followed last year and this season De Ligt has been linked with a string of Europe's top clubs – with Barcelona said to be at the front of the queue.

    Paris-Saint Germain, Inter and Liverpool have also been named as potential destinations for the 19-year-old, who is contracted with Ajax until 2021.

    Netherlands boss Ronald Koeman expects the teenager to leave the Eredivisie in the near future but Van Dijk has yet to be asked about his international team-mate by Liverpool's hierarchy.

    "He will be on the [Liverpool] lists because they have enough scouts at the club," he told De Telegraaf.

    "No [they haven't mentioned De Ligt], but if they need my opinion, I'll give it.

    "He is already very far, especially for his age. [He is] a good defender, good boy, calm, knows what he wants and hopefully he makes the right choice."

    But Van Dijk does not expect De Ligt to take his record as the world's most-expensive defender, Liverpool having paid £75million for the 27-year-old in January.

    "They will pay less for Matthijs," he added. "The amount for me was very high.

    "It's just like that and if he ever becomes the most expensive defender, I'll be the first to congratulate him."

SportsMax Zone

Latest Tweets

'Taxi' gets his reward for consistent hard work with the Red Bulls. See story here: https://t.co/GXYEyHEeF9 #RBNY… https://t.co/lV6fR6MRml
With two world titles and a world-age-group record under her belt in 2018, can Briana Williams win the prestigious… https://t.co/RKPSGBglpp
Join the discussion! Zone Blitz: Nicholas has always shown promise but does he have a future with the Windies? … https://t.co/gvqGRKaHQD
Follow SportsMax on Twitter
© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.