I won’t focus solely on Pep Guardiola, says Jose Mourinho
Jose Mourinho has said he will not allow himself to be consumed by the mind games which may occur between himself and Pep Guardiola next season.
The pair are set to take charge of Manchester United and Manchester City respectively during the 2016-17 campaign and are likely to renew the hostilities which defined their spells in charge of Real Madrid and Barcelona.
Although seemingly resigned to their rivalry resurfacing, Mourinho is keen for it not to detract from his work at Old Trafford and has warned Guardiola that any conflict could prove counter-productive for both of them.
“My experience does not allow me to be innocent,” said Mourinho. “For two years Pep and I were in a league where the champion would be either me or him, Real Madrid or Barcelona.
“In a situation like this, individual fights make sense because they can influence things, but in the Premier League, if I focus on him and City, and he on me and United, someone else is going to win the league.”
Mourinho was employed as an assistant coach by Barcelona during Guardiola’s playing days at the club in the mid-1990s and they enjoyed an amiable relationship, though this broke down once they were both in charge of Spain’s biggest clubs.
Last year, meanwhile, Mourinho’s fall from grace at Chelsea was marked by several controversial moments — not least the dismissal of Eva Carneiro, the team doctor, which will be the subject of an employment tribunal to be heard next month.
The Portuguese, who succeeded Louis van Gaal on a three-year deal last week, also gave the first hints regarding his summer transfer policy at United.
He has been linked with a variety of players, including compatriots Joao Mario and Andre Gomes. However, he ruled out signing any player from his home country, saying: “No, I will definitely not take anyone (from Portugal) to Old Trafford.”
Belfast Telegraph Digital