BEIJING, CHINA — Pep Guardiola intends to kick off his renewed rivalry with Jose Mourinho in a friendly atmosphere.
Manchester City play United in a preseason friendly in Beijing on Monday and plenty of eyes on the two managers as they face each other for the first time since a bitter feud during their respective Barcelona and Real Madrid careers.
And the City boss intends to set the tone in the preseason International Champions Cup match at the Bird’s Nest Stadium.
“It’s a friendly game, a really friendly game,” Guardiola told a news conference.
Asked if he would shake Mourinho’s hand he added: “We are polite guys — why not? Why should we not shake hands? No reason why. He will want to win and so will I, that’s all.
“I saw United’s game against [Borussia] Dortmund — it’s too early to know how they will be. I’m pretty sure they will be stronger than in previous years. Of course with this manager and with the good players they already had — I’m sure they will buy new players too — they will be a strong team.”
There has been some concern about the Bird’s Nest Stadium pitch after heavy rainfall in recent days and Guardiola admitted he wanted to get through the game without any injuries.
“We didn’t see the pitch but there is a lot of water in the last days so we understand it’s not in a good condition but okay we’re going to adapt and adjust,” he said.
“It’s our second game of preparation — the most important thing is that the players are not going to be injured.
“We know the humidity for the training is not ideal but we also know that it’s so important to come here to know the people and to play a good two games against amazing teams like United and Dortmund.
“We don’t want to expend too much energy in training because of the humidity but we stay here, we play, and then go back to Manchester for two more weeks of preparation before the first official game.”
U.S viewers will be able to watch the Man City vs. Man United clash at 7.30 a.m. ET on Monday on ESPN2 & ESPN Deportes. For a full list of ICC match times and channels, click here.