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Manchester derby doesn't belong to the bosses, says Pep Guardiola


Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola would share a glass of wine with opposite number Jose Mourinho

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola would share a glass of wine with opposite number Jose Mourinho

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola would share a glass of wine with opposite number Jose Mourinho

Pep Guardiola hopes his relationship with Jose Mourinho will not overshadow football in Manchester in the same way it did in Spain and rejected the suggestion that the tactical tussles between the pair were one of sport's great rivalries.

Animosity built during the three years Guardiola was manager of Barcelona and Mourinho was at Real Madrid and lent an extra edge to what was already one of the world's most bitter rivalries.

There has inevitably been a huge amount of focus on the personal history of the two men since Mourinho's appointment at Old Trafford confirmed they would cross each other again, this time in the same city.

Asked if he hoped things would be different this time, Guardiola said: " Of course, but I don't know what is going to happen.

"From my point of view, I spend my time with my players, not with agents, not with managers. I spend my time with my players. I love my job because I am with them.

"Most of the players are happy with me because they play and the players that don't play, they are not happy. It's simple like that."

The fixtures determined Guardiola and Mourinho would meet again just four matches into the season, with both sides heading into Saturday's clash at Old Trafford on maximum points.

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The City boss shot down suggestions their rivalry was one of sport's greatest, saying: " Jose and I don't play so I am sorry, when Ivan Lendl and John McEnroe played, Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant, or Federer, Nadal and Djokovic, that is the point.

"This game belongs to the players, it doesn't belong to me and Jose. I think you give too much importance to what we say. We speak through our players, through our games, not what we're talking about here.

"The people who go to Old Trafford tomorrow, they go there not to see me and Jose on the side, they're going to see all the big fantastic players out on the field."

Guardiola also said he would be happy to go for a post-match glass of wine with Mourinho, if the Portuguese invites him as the manager of the home team.

Despite his obvious discomfort with the focus on him and Mourinho, Guardiola accepted the Portuguese and other managers against whom he has pitted his wits have helped his career.

"I said many times, when I was a player, the big players made me a better player and the best managers make me a better manager," said the 45-year-old.

"In Germany with Jurgen Klopp and Thomas Tuchel and in Spain as well. I want to beat them and they want to beat me.

"I need the best players and the best managers to make me better and they help me to take a step forward. But in the end you don't win the titles for that rivalry because it is just two or three games in a season.

"I was lucky to be coach of some fantastic players and we won a lot of prizes because we won a lot of games and not just one game against Jose. You win every three days to win the titles."

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