Rivals from their El Clasico days, the coaching duo will now lock horns on opposite sides of the Manchester footballing divide.

As they prepare to renew their fierce rivalry, Pep Guardiola has claimed that Jose Mourinho has made him a better coach.

The Spaniard will face off against his long-standing nemesis after taking the reins at Manchester City, the Portuguese pitching up just down the road at local rivals Manchester United.

“It’s not about him or me,” said Guardiola to press who had gathered for his first press conference since taking charge at the Etihad Stadium.

“We played many times against each other. All I can say is that the big coaches – and of course Jose’s one of them – they helped me to reach another level.

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“My experience against him, Jurgen Klopp at Dortmund and a lot of coaches in Spain and England, they made me better.

“Of course all managers want to win and we are going to try to win as well.”

Asked about just how hard he might find it to have his team express a way of playing that is central to the Guardiola style, he noted the difficulties.

“Hopefully we’ll play well, win games and people will be happy with us,” added the Spaniard. “I have big expectations and hope things go as well as possible.”

“I think it’ll be more physical, and people say it’s less attractive but I don’t know. I’ll talk to Brian Kidd and [Mikel] Arteta to learn more.”

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In articulating that he wants to engender a deep team spirit and a cohesive and purposeful style, Pep concluded by suggesting that he wasn’t asking the earth from his playing staff.

“What I want is simple,” he explained. “I want to get the ball back as soon as possible. When we have the ball, to create chances – so simple.”


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