Pep lost only 3 of 16 games against Jose

PITCHSIDE RIVALS: Mourinho (left) and Guardiola have traded verbal punches as coaches of Real and Barca in Spain, with both men taking perfect EPL starts to the Old Trafford showdown on Saturday.


    Sep 08, 2016

    Pep lost only 3 of 16 games against Jose


    NOT many people talk badly of Pep Guardiola, a sainted figure in football, but Manchester City's manager will find two of his most vocal critics facing him down at Old Trafford on Saturday.

    While Spain is a world away from Manchester on a dreary day, the fallout from Guardiola's combustible relationship with Zlatan Ibrahimovic, whom he managed for an ill-starred season at Barcelona, and Jose Mourinho, whom he opposed in 11 "El Clasicos", is impossible to ignore, particularly since all three descended on English football's second city.

    For Guardiola, Mourinho proved a more persistent threat and the pair publicly clashed, swopping insults and barbed observations at every opportunity.

    Many believe Mourinho was the real reason Guardiola suddenly quit Barcelona for a sabbatical in 2012, exhausted by the strain of seeing Real Madrid win the title under the Portuguese.

    On the pitch, Guardiola normally emerged triumphant, losing only two of their 11 meetings in Spain, a record that extends to three in 16 in overall career meetings.

    On Saturday both men take perfect Premier League starts into the fixture, with City sitting marginally above United in the table on goal difference after both sides won their first three games.

    Up to now, both managers have been keen to play down their own history, scarcely referring to the shadowy force on the other side of Manchester.

    "I play against myself, not the others," said Mourinho this week in an effort to end discussion of the topic that will not go away. Guardiola has been equally dismissive.

    But on Saturday, as the pair stand side by side on the Old Trafford touchline, the realisation will dawn that some people from your past are impossible to avoid.