Pep, Jose re­sume hos­til­i­ties in derby

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Sport Starts Here -

MANCH­ESTER United man­ager Jose Mourinho and his Manch­ester City ad­ver­sary Guardi­ola rekin­dle a ri­valry 20 years in the mak­ing in this week­end’s hotly an­tic­i­pated Manch­ester derby.

Friends who be­came foes, Mourinho and Guardi­ola rep­re­sent op­po­site ends of foot­ball’s ide­o­log­i­cal spec­trum and their on­go­ing grudge match has shaped the game’s re­cent his­tory.

It is three years since they last shared a touch­line and to­mor­row’s clash at Old Traf­ford marks the re­sump­tion of a duel that could de­ter­mine the out­come of the Premier League ti­tle race.

“He (Guardi­ola) left Barcelona for a num­ber of rea­sons,” for­mer Liver­pool de­fender Jamie Car­ragher wrote in the Daily Mail when Mourinho was ap­pointed by United in May. “But“one of them, I’m sure, is the con­tin­ual bait­ing to which he was sub­jected by Mourinho in the me­dia.m

“It is in­evitable, at some point, that theme will re­turn. Guardi­ola must be think­ing: ‘Oh no, not him again.’”

Though renowned for their dif­fer­ent de­meanours, the prag­matic Mourinho (53) and the ide­al­is­tic Guardi­ola (45) have both shown a ca­pac­ity for ruth­less­ness in their early days in Manch­ester.

Mourinho has side­lined ex­pe­ri­enced Ger­man mid­fielder Bas­tian Sch­we­in­steiger, while Guardi­ola’s bench­ing of Joe Hart forced the pop­u­lar goal­keeper to leave City for Torino.

Both men have also de­liv­ered im­pres­sive ini­tial re­sults, leav­ing their clubs neck-and-neck on nine points — along with Chelsea — af­ter the first three games of the sea­son.

It is two decades since their paths first crossed at Barcelona in the mid-1990s, when Guardi­ola was cap­tain and Mourinho worked as an as­sis­tant to Bobby Rob­son and Louis van Gaal.

The pair be­came close, but they found them­selvesm­selves in op­po­si­tion at Camp Nou in 2008 when Barcelonacelona went in search of a suc­ces­sor to Frank Ri­jkaar­dard as man­ager.

De­spite Mourinho’s stel­lar achieve­ments with Porto and Chelsea, he was over­looked in favour of the in­ex­pe­ri­enced Guardi­ola.

The Por­tuguese ex­acted sweet re­venge two years later when In­ter Mi­lan knocked de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons Barca out of the Cham­pi­ons League.

In an iconic im­age, Mourinho raced across the Camp Nou pitch in cel­e­bra­tion, his right hand provoca­tively raised in the air.

Mourinho’s ap­point­ment by Real Madrid that year brought him into reg­u­lar con­fronta­tion with Guardi­ola.

Mourinho’s first Cla­sico ended in a hu­mil­i­at­ing 5-0 de­feat and dur­ing a se­quence of four en­coun­ters in two weeks later that sea­son, the ri­valry be­tween the men turned ugly.

In the build-up to their Cham­pi­ons League semi­fi­nal, Mourinho’s acer­bic com­ments prompted an an­gry, foul-mouthed re­sponse from the usu­ally placid Guardi­ola.

That year’s Span­ish Su­per Cup wit­nessed a new low in the re­la­tion­ship be­tween the clubs as Mourinho poked Guardi­ola’s as­sis­tant Tito Vi­lanova in the eye dur­ing a touch­line shov­ing match.

They last met in 2013 when Guardi­ola’s Bay­ern Mu­nich edged Mourinho’s Chelsea on penal­ties in the Uefa Su­per Cup.

Ahead of the cur­rent cam­paign, both man­agers were at pains to play down the sig­nif­i­cance of their ri­valry.

“In the Premier League, if I fo­cus on him and Manch­ester City, and he on me and Manch­ester United, some­one else is go­ing to win the league,” Mourinho said.

Guardi­ola said man­agers like Mourinho pushed him to “reach an­other level”.

But the gloves will come off when the ref­eree’s whis­tle sounds at Old Traf­ford t omo omor r row, if not in the pair’s pre-match Press con­fer­ences the day be­fore.

The pres­ence of the swag­ger­ing Zla­tan Ibrahi­movic in United’s for­ward line only adds spice to the blend.

Ibrahi­movic, who has scored four goals in four games for United since join­ing from Paris Sain­tGer­main, has played for both men and has very dif­fer­ent opin­ions about each of them.

Ibrahi­movic played un­der Mourinho for only one sea­son at In­ter, winning the 2008-09 Ital­ian ti­tle, but de­scribed him as some­one “I was ba­si­cally will­ing to die for”.

He branded Guardi­ola, who side­lined him at Barcelona the fol­low­ing sea­son, a “spine­less cow­ard”.

Manch­ester is about to find out whether the city is big enough for both of them.— AFP.

Pep Guardi­ola

Jose Mourinho

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Zimbabwe

© PressReader. All rights reserved.