Pep Guardiola plays down Jose Mourinho rivalry and says he will shake hands at China friendly

Pep Guardiola speaks to the media ahead of Manchester City's International Champions Cup against Man Utd on Monday

Pep Guardiola will shake Jose Mourinho’s hand on Monday, even though the two managers have rarely agreed on anything.

Guardiola and Mourinho will be the centre of attention when Manchester United play Manchester City in Beijing in the International Champions Cup (kick-off 12.30pm BST).

It will be the first time the managers have faced each other in four years and Guardiola says his relationship with the Portuguese coach will not be an issue.

Leicester v Manchester Utd

When asked if he would shake Mourinho’s hand, Guardiola said: “Of course, we’re polite guys. Why not? Why wouldn’t I shake hands?”

Guardiola thinks his rivalry with Jose Mourinho has made him a better coach
Guardiola thinks his rivalry with Jose Mourinho has made him a better coach

The rivalry between the two managers dates back to 2009, when Guardiola was at Barcelona and Mourinho was managing Inter Milan. They have since clashed on several occasions, with Mourinho often portrayed as the aggressor.

There is little at stake on Monday in China though because the game is only a friendly and according to Guardiola, it will be played in the right spirit – on and off the pitch.

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“He [Mourinho] wants to win, I want to win,” the Spaniard added. “But it is a friendly game, a really friendly game.”

United and City finished level on points in the Premier League last season, but City pipped their fierce rivals to a place in the Champions League thanks to their superior goal difference.

Both teams appointed new managers in the summer and Guardiola believes United will improve under their new boss – although he did not refer to his rival by his name.

Highlights of Man Utd's 4-1 International Champions Cup defeat by Borussia Dortmund on Friday
Highlights of Man Utd’s 4-1 International Champions Cup defeat by Borussia Dortmund on Friday

“I am pretty sure they will be stronger than last year, he said. “With this manager and the good players they already had, they will be a good team.”

The two managers have faced each other 16 times, with Guardiola winning seven and Mourinho winning three. When it comes to trophies, Mourinho has the edge, leading his rival 22-21.

Guardiola and Mourinho are set to go head-to-head in Beijing on Monday
Guardiola and Mourinho are set to go head-to-head in Beijing on Monday.

Source: Sky Sports

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