Guardiola ready to renew acquaintances with 'twin' Mourinho in Manchester derby
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola believes he and Manchester United counterpart Jose Mourinho are "twins" when it comes to their thirst for success.
A spiky and tempestuous rivalry sparked between the two men when they led Barcelona and Real Madrid on either side of El Clasico's divide in 2010-11 and 2011-12.
Their appointments at City and United last year meant renewed hostilities between two brilliant and contrasting tacticians; Guardiola the romantic cast against Mourinho the arch pragmatist once more.
City won at Old Trafford last season - they remain the last Premier League team to do so - and the sides shared a goalless draw at the Etihad Stadium in April.
United knocked their neighbours out of the EFL Cup in between those fixtures. Mourinho would hoist that trophy and the Europa League, but the Manchester clubs' relative distance from Chelsea's march to the Premier League title meant the rivalry did not reignite as expected.
City leading United by eight points at the top of the table means the stakes are high once again before Sunday's derby at Old Trafford and Guardiola reflected on his relationship with a man who he believes he has more in common with than is sometimes acknowledged.
"Our relationship is correct, it's friendly. We haven't bumped into each other here in Manchester," he said at a pre-match news conference
Guardiola was asked whether an obsession with trophies made he and Mourinho alike and agreed completely.
"Definitely. In that we are twins," he observed. "He wants to win trophies, I want to win trophies and I think Antonio Conte, Jurgen [Klopp] and Mauricio [Pochettino] are like that as well.
"I never criticise the way my colleagues for the way they play. Football is magnificent because of every manager playing their way. There are lot of ways to enjoy it. It is simple like that."
#PEP: The big challenge is to play good and control their start point. Try to do our game. The focus is going there, relax and knowing if you don't win individual duels it will be impossible to beat them.-- Manchester City (@ManCity) December 8, 2017
Mourinho has not operated with such restraint this week - accusing Guardiola of lying over an injury worry concerning David Silva before claiming in news conference quotes broadcast by Sky Sports News that City players "lose their balance very easily, a little bit of wind and they fall".
Irrespective of whether the simmering bitterness of their days in Spain returns this weekend, the City manager believes this should be a higher quality encounter than last season's three all-Manchester clashes.
"In theory, probably," he added. "Because both managers and both clubs have had more time together to know more about each other.
"Both teams have arrived really well to this match and what they do they do really well.
"To be honest, not really. It's attractive because you want to win these games but it's the same pressure when I face other teams like Chelsea and Liverpool to try and find out what you have to do to win."