Mour­inho, Guardi­ola face League Cup re­union

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPORTS -

JOSE MOUR­INHO and Pep Guardi­ola face off for the sec­ond time this sea­son when Manch­ester United en­ter­tain hold­ers Manch­ester City in the English League Cup fourth round to­mor­row.

Guardi­ola’s City took the spoils when he and Mour­inho re­sumed hos­til­i­ties in Septem­ber, win­ning 2-1 at Old Traf­ford through goals from Kevin De Bruyne and Kelechi Iheana­cho.

But City have gone off the boil since, Sun­day’s 1-1 draw with Southampton leav­ing them with­out a win in five games, while United crashed to a crush­ing 4-0 de­feat at Mour­inho’s for­mer club Chelsea.

Asked whether the iden­tity of his side’s League Cup op­po­nents would help mo­ti­vate his hurting play­ers, Mour­inho told MUTV: “I would pre­fer to play in the Pre­mier League.

“It’s a bad feel­ing in the Pre­mier League. With the com­bi­na­tion of re­sults, the gap to the top is six points. We’ve had a very dif­fi­cult pe­riod of matches.

“We are re­ally, re­ally sad, but again this is not for kids. This is for men and to­mor­row (Mon­day) we have to be men and work for the next one.”

City’s win at United on Sept 10 formed part of a se­quence of six con­sec­u­tive vic­to­ries, which sug­gested Guardi­ola might find life in Eng­land some­thing of a stroll.

But since draw­ing 3-3 in a fre­netic Cham­pi­ons League game at Celtic, the early-sea­son cer­tainty has van­ished.

“It’s im­por­tant to change our dy­namic from the pre­vi­ous games,” Guardi­ola said.

“Ev­ery­thing in­flu­ences you. If you can play well or badly, it af­fects your men­tal­ity, so we are work­ing on it.

“We will see to­mor­row, af­ter the play­ers’ re­cov­ery, then de­cide if it’s nec­es­sary to make ro­ta­tions or not.”

The round’s other stand-out tie oc­curs to­day when Liver­pool and Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur face off at An­field while the spot­light will fall on and off the pitch at Lon­don Sta­dium, where West Ham United host cross-town ri­vals Chelsea.

The re­main­ing all-top-flight tie sees Southampton host the Pre­mier League’s bot­tom club Sun­der­land. – AFP

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