08 Dec Pep Guardiola: Jose Mourinho and I are twins
Pep Guardiola claims that he and Jose Mourinho are twins – in the sense they both want to win trophies at least.
The managerial heavyweights meet on Sunday as Guardiola takes Premier League leaders Manchester City to Old Trafford to face rivals Manchester United in an eagerly-anticipated derby.
Guardiola and Mourinho, two of the most successful managers of their era, have famously clashed on numerous occasions with a long-standing rivalry dating back to their times in charge of Barcelona and Real Madrid respectively.
The encounter also sees a battle of two contrasting styles, with Guardiola unwilling to compromise his attacking philosophies but Mourinho often taking a more pragmatic approach in order to achieve results.
When it comes to winning silverware, however, Guardiola does see some common ground.
Guardiola said: “Definitely. In that, we are twins. They want to win trophies, we want to win trophies.
“I think Antonio Conte is the same as well, and Jurgen (Klopp) and Mauricio (Pochettino), and in all the leagues around the world, the managers are there.
“I never criticise my colleagues for the way they play. I never did in the past, I will never do it.
“Football is magnificent for that, because every manager plays in the way they play. There are different ways to enjoy football. It’s simple like that.”
Guardiola has won six domestic league titles with Barcelona and Bayern Munich while Mourinho has triumphed eight times in total with Porto, Chelsea, Inter Milan and Real Madrid. They have each won the Champions League twice.
Their rivalry did spill over into bitterness during their time in LaLiga but since they arrived in Manchester 18 months ago there has been an apparent truce.
Speaking at his pre-match press conference, Guardiola said: “Our relationship is friendly. We haven’t bumped into each other here in Manchester but it’s correct.”
City, who are eight points clear at the top of the table, are are bidding for a 14th successive Premier League win, an achievement which would be a record for a single season.
Guardiola said: “Until now we cannot complain in terms of results and especially the way we have played.
“When you see in every game the statistics – not just the way we play – we are better in terms of potential goals, possession and chances conceded.
“But I think United are fantastic on that. When the statistics are good they win and when they are not good they are able to win 3-1 at the Emirates, one of the most difficult stadiums.
“They conceded 33 shots and they won 3-1. Few teams in the world are able to do that. That’s why you have to be careful. You can control, you can do many things good, but then they have the talent to do that.”
City will be boosted by the return of David Silva after a knock, with Guardiola dismissing suggestions from Mourinho he was playing mind games in midweek by not revealing the nature or seriousness of the playmaker’s injury.
“He is going to play,” Guardiola said.