Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has moved to play down the reported animosity between him and Manchester United equivalent Jose Mourinho before today’s clash at Old Trafford.
The cross-town rivals are set to lock horns in a crucial Premier League clash on Saturday afternoon, with both sides keen to add three more points to their perfect respective records.
The game’s intriguing subplot will see Guardiola and Mourinho reunited on the touchline, with the pair sharing an acrimonious past.
During their time at Barcelona and Real Madrid, the clashes between the managerial pair were always heated and at times descended into outright mind games and nasty conduct.
With the potential for animated exchanges in their first meeting in Manchester, Guardiola has stated that the animosity is not as extreme as made out in the media and that he would go for a drink with Mourinho after the game if invited.
“If he invites me to do that I will accept,” the Catalan is quoted by The Guardian.
“I have said many times I have a lot of respect for him. I always try to learn from all my colleagues and opponents and I learn from him as well. Jose was my coach when he was assistant to Bobby Robson.
“The last meeting in Madrid with Barcelona was not easy but we met each other two or three weeks ago at a Premier League managers get-together and we spoke with each other, and with Ronald Koeman and Tony Pulis. So it was OK. The rivalry between us is more in the media.”
Mourinho also played the pair’s past down in his pre-match press conference.