Pre-season friendly: Jose Mourinho says he's still friends with Pep Guardiola ahead of Manchester derby
Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho said he is still friends with Manchester City's Pep Guardiola despite their rivalry in recent years, especially in the La Liga.
Ahead of the pre-season derby, Jose Mourinho said he has a positive relationship with Pep Guardiola and explained how their rivalry as managers of Manchester United and Manchester City is "completely different" to the one between La Liga giants Real Madrid and Barcelona.
Mourinho and Guardiola will lock horns in Houston on Friday when United and City play the first Manchester derby outside England in the International Champions Cup clash at the NRG Stadium.
The two managers — who famously worked together during Bobby Robson's reign as the manager of Barcelona in the late-1990s — are approaching their second seasons in their respective Manchester clubs after a disappointing year in the Premier League.
Despite the heated exchange of words between the two in recent years, the Portuguese insists that he and Guardiola have great mutual respect for each other.
"We were good friends and we showed that last season, that we could perfectly show the football world that our relationship is positive. Are we rivals? Yes. We want to win the same titles? Yes. But with the respect that we could show last season," Mourinho was quoted by saying ESPN on Wednesday.
"Barcelona was on the top. Real Madrid was in the low and trying to come and break that Barcelona dominance. But we worked together. We were colleagues for three years. We lived in the same stadium, in the same dressing room for three years," he added.
A win in Houston would give a psychological edge to Mourinho or Guardiola but the former believes that the derby is just a training game and that the real test will be against Real Madrid in the UEFA Super Cup final on 8 August. Meanwhile, United kick-start their season against West Ham, while City travel to newcomers Brighton on 13 August.
At the end of a pulsating contest in Saudi Arabia, Real Madrid scraped through 3-2 after extra-time and will now face either Atletico Madrid or Athletic Bilbao, who play on Thursday, in Sunday's final.
Sevilla were without their coach Julen Lopetegui, who the club said was showing Covid-like symptoms earlier on Wednesday, while six players were out through injury, including Jules Kounde and Jesus Navas.
Dembele has suffered numerous injuries since joining from Borussia Dortmund in a deal worth 140 million euros ($158.9 million), in 2017.