BEIJING, China, Sporting Alert – Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola downplayed any malice between himself and Jose Mourinho, by revealing that he will shake the Manchester United boss’ hand when the pair renew their rivalry in an International Champions Cup pre-season game in China on Monday.
The two world-class tacticians endured an irritable relationship during their times in Spain with Barcelona and Real Madrid, respectively, with the pair failing to come to a common agreement majority of the times.
However, Guardiola, the former Bayern Munich boss, says when the two come together inside the China’s Bird’s Nest Stadium for the first Manchester derby outside of the UK, he will have no problem recognizing the Portugues coach.
“We are polite guys,” a surprised Guardiola said when asked whether he would shake Mourinho’s hand on Monday.
“Why not? Why should we not shake hands? No reason why. He will want to win, I will want to win. That’s all.”
Guardiola, whose return to Munich ended in the defeat in Manchester City’s pre-season opener against Bayern, now under the management of Carlo Ancelotti, revealed that he watched the Red Devils in action already this summer.
“I saw the last game against Borussia Dortmund (when United lost 4-1) and that’s all (apart from) a little bit against Wigan,” Spaniard said.
“It’s too early to know how they will be. I am pretty sure they will be stronger than last year.
“Of course with this manager and with the good players they already had – and I am sure they will buy new players – they will be a strong team.”
Both rivals will be hoping to bounce back from respective defeats in the last outing, but Guardiola insists the main focus is to stay injury-free.
“It’s our second game of preparation,” he noted. “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.”