Monday 22 January 2018

The best of enemies

It's all calm before the storm in rival Manchester camps

Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola.
Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola.

Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola ironed out their differences a few months ago but the new détente will be tested to the limit in the most eagerly awaited Manchester derby in years.

Both men were at pains to avoid any heated words before today's clash at Old Trafford with Guardiola revealing a pre-season chat to sort out any differences.

"Ok, the last years in Madrid and Barcelona was not easy but we met each other a few months ago and we spoke fluently.

"I will go for a glass of wine if he invites me," said the Manchester City boss.

Claiming kinship with his cross-town rival, Guardiola pleaded for breathing space for both managers but knows they won't get much.

"With Jose it's the same. He needs time. We need time and the world won't give you time," explained the City boss. "This is how it is, now there's a game in Old Trafford."

Mourinho accepted the peace offering and described his rival as "a very good manager".

Continuing the theme in a very rare drama-free press briefing, he explained how he must be in full control for such a huge game..

"I know what a derby means for everyone; I've played derbies everywhere, in every country, in so many cities," said Mourinho.

"I always want to be in the position of emotional control because for me it is just a game against a very good opponent. If you want to be successful and you want to win the game then we have to be at the top of our qualities."

Guardiola is preaching the same message.

"I want to attack, control the game, concede a few counter attacks - but play good."

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