Tue | Feb 20, 2018

Mourinho is my twin - Pep

Published:Saturday | December 9, 2017 | 12:00 AM
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MANCHESTER, England (AP):

On a snowy day in Manchester, Pep Guardiola offered further evidence that his often-tempestuous relationship with JosÈ Mourinho has thawed ahead of the latest United-City derby in the English Premier League.

With the long-anticipated match just one day away, the spotlight inevitably fell on the rapport between the clubs' managers, who clashed repeatedly during their time in Spain in charge of Barcelona (Guardiola) and Real Madrid (Mourinho).

"Our relationship is friendly, it's correct," Guardiola said yesterday. "We haven't bumped into each other here, though, but it's correct."

Moments earlier, the City manager had made the sound bite of the derby build-up when asked if he was as obsessed with winning as Mourinho.

"Definitely," Guardiola added. "In that, we are twins."

On the other side of Manchester, speaking in a news conference at the same time as Guardiola, Mourinho was in a less chatty mood, restricting his praise toward City the unbeaten leader by eight points from second-place United - to two words.

"Very good," Mourinho said, when asked his opinion of City.

Mourinho wasn't prepared to give his views on how he thought the match would pan out, simply saying that "football is unpredictable, you don't know what can happen".

As for Guardiola, he intimated that Mourinho would set up his team to play on the counterattack - like the Portuguese coach usually does in big games - even though United was at home.

"I want the ball. That's my main principle," Guardiola said. "After that, we have to be well organised and recover as much as possible knowing the opponents want to punish you when you lose the ball with the magnificent counterattack.

"The teams from Jose Mourinho - Chelsea, Real Madrid and here - they are the masters of that. So good running in behind and when you lose the ball. You know if you are not well-organised, they punish you in one action and win the game."

City have the chance to open up an 11-point lead after 16 games by winning at United for the second straight season under Guardiola.