Manchester City boss has no problem shaking hands with Jose Mourinho
Pep Guardiola’s first Premier League game sees City take on Sunderland on Saturday 13 August
|By Simon Stone
Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola will have no problem shaking Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho’s hand at Monday’s pre-season derby in Beijing.
The game will be the second meeting since their time in charge of Barcelona and Real Madrid ended in 2012.
Both have played down the significance of their rivalry and Guardiola will offer the hand of friendship.
“Of course I will shake his hand. Why shouldn’t I? We are polite guys. I want to win. So does he,” he said.
When questioned on the subject, Mourinho said: “Of course I will shake his hand.
“I worked with him for three years at Barcelona. We have managed teams against each other and we are very professional. My relationship with him is normal.”
The Manchester United manager was speaking at a chaotic pre-match news conference, which had to be moved outdoors.
That came the day after one of the team’s planes to Beijing was forced into a unscheduled landing due to bad weather.
Guardiola and Mourinho had two seasons in direct competition with each other in Spain, between 2010 and 2012.
While they each won one La Liga title, Guardiola’s Barcelona were widely regarded as superior to Mourinho’s Real, with the Catalan giants winning the Champions League by beating Manchester United at Wembley in 2011.
Guardiola’s side secured a 5-0 win in the first El Clasico meeting in November 2010 and, later the same season, Mourinho was sent to the stands for protesting at Pepe’s red card in the Champions League semi-final, which Barcelona also won.
Possibly Mourinho’s most controversial incident involving Barcelona came in August 2011, when he jabbed a finger in the eye of Guardiola’s assistant Tito Vilanova.
He was banned for the incident but that was subsequently revoked.
Meanwhile, heavy rain in the Chinese capital over the past few weeks has forced organisers to move training sessions from the Bird’s Nest stadium – which will host Monday’s game – to the nearby Olympic Sports Centre.
And Guardiola said he is concerned about the state of the pitch.
“The most important thing is that we get no injuries [on Monday],” said Guardiola. “We have not seen the pitch but the information is that it is not in good condition.”
Mourinho shares Guardiola’s concerns about the playing surface.
“It’s a problem for me, bad conditions for my players to train and bad conditions for my players to play” he said
“So if you ask me my objective for the match on Monday I only have one: Take the players home safe without any kind of injury.”
City captain Vincent Kompany had an extended training session on his own, then sat out the main session on Sunday.
The Belgian suffered a succession of injuries last season, culminating in a groin problem that ruled him out of Euro 2016.
Guardiola is refusing to put a timescale on the centre-back’s recovery.
“What happened in the last two years has been so difficult for him and the team,” the manager said.
“The important thing is not when he will be fit, it is to be sure he is fit. He needs to play one week, then another, training regularly, every day.
“If the doctor says he is fit for the first game against Sunderland great. If it is the Champions League qualifiers in August great. If not, September. If not, October.
“The moment the doctor says he is ready he will be with us.”
Speaking at Sunday’s news conference, Mourinho confirmed one of the planes carrying Manchester United to Beijing on Saturday had to make an unscheduled stop.
The manager was on the first flight but some players were on the second flight, which landed in Tianjin, around 160km from Beijing as storms hit the Chinese capital.
“They were the unlucky ones,” said Mourinho. “But this morning they had a good smile on their faces.”
“What a chaotic 24 hours for Manchester United.
“Part of their squad did not arrive in Beijing until 1am on Sunday because their plane had been diverted.
“Their training schedule has been disrupted because of the rain, meaning the venue for their pre-match session had to be switched from the Bird’s Nest to the Olympic Sports Centre in order to protect the pitch they will play Manchester City on on Monday.
“Jose Mourinho’s planned news conference had to be scrapped due to the numbers trying to get into the small room set aside for it and the stifling conditions inside.
“When Mourinho did eventually speak, outside, hardly anyone could hear because of the number of fans attempting to get autographs.
“That was observed by executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward, who had flown in from Manchester, and co-owners Joel and Avram Glazer, who had also come down from Shanghai.
“And then the rain began again. With more forecast on Monday, the first overseas Manchester derby might not be quite so alien after all.”