‘Of course I will shake Mourinho’s hand’

24 Jul

Pep Guardiola takes Manchester City training during their tour of China

Pep Guardiola’s first Premier League game sees City take on Sunderland on Saturday 13 August

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.

What is the history between the pair?

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 secured a 5-0 win in the first El Clasico against Mourinho 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.

Pitch imperfect?

Meanwhile, heavy rain in the Chinese capital over the past few weeks saw organisers move planned training sessions from the Bird’s Nest stadium, which will host Monday’s game, to the nearby Olympic Sports Centre.

And Guardiola admitted 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.”

City prepared to wait for Kompany

Vincent Kompany<!–

Vincent Kompany has not played since being forced off in City’s Champions League semi-final defeat at Real Madrid in May

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.

Given the number of times Kompany returned, only to be sidelined again almost immediately, Guardiola is refusing to put a timescale on the Belgium defender’s recovery.

“What happened in the last two years has been so difficult for him and the team,” said Guardiola.

“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.”


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