The pair were arch enemies during their time in Spain but tempers have cooled since they arrived in the Premier League
Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola says he has a “good relationship” with Tottenham counterpart Jose Mourinho, despite the historic rivalry between the pair.
The duo were painted by the media as arch enemies when Guardiola was coach of Barcelona and Mourinho in charge of Real Madrid.
Their rivalry was revived years later when the Catalan boss joined City in 2016, with Mourinho turning up at Manchester United the same summer.
What Guardiola said
But Guardiola says the animosity between the two has calmed down recently and he is happy less attention is being paid to the coaches as the two sides go head-to-head on Saturday.
“Absolutely, I prefer this, I don’t like being in the limelight,” Guardiola said at a press conference.
“I enjoy doing my job, training sessions, without any press conference. The game speaks for itself but we have to do it. For the business, for advertising, you have to do it.
“I’m a manager not to come out and speak about something bad about the other managers [or] clubs. I’m here to talk football; that’s why I’m here and why I became a manager.”
He continued: “Maybe you expect it, or like it, but why should we have a rivalry with all the managers we have?
“I’m calm, I prefer not to be involved. I have a good relationship with him, we can agree or disagree but it’s not a big problem.
“His business is Tottenham, or before United, mine is City. We have to handle our team and backroom staff and we don’t have time [for] other clubs – and could not care less. The only concern is what we have to do [against Tottenham].”
The history of the Pep vs Jose rivalry
The tension between the revered coaches began when Mourinho’s Inter eliminated Barca from the Champions League semi-finals in 2010, but it reached its pinnacle in Spain.
Guardiola and Mourinho were in direct competition for the Spanish and European titles and the Portuguese coach was all too happy to stoke the fires in his press conferences.
The Classico giants faced each other four times in the space of two weeks as they contested the Champions League, La Liga and Copa del Rey.
The constant media talk sparked an outburst from Guardiola as he addressed the media, declaring: “In this room [Mourinho] is the f*cking boss, the f*cking master”.
When Madrid centre-back Pepe was sent off in the European semi-final, Mourinho suggested Guardiola’s teams were favoured by referees, telling reporters: “One day, I would like Josep Guardiola to win this competition properly. If I tell UEFA what I really think and feel, my career would end now.
“Why? Because every semi-final the same things happen. We are talking about an absolutely fantastic football team, so why do they need that? Why? Why does a team as good as they are need something that is so obvious that everyone sees it?
“I don’t know if it is the UNICEF sponsorship or if it is because they are nice guys. I don’t understand. They have power and we have no chance.”
The current state of affairs
Although Guardiola and Mourinho are competing in the same league once again, the battles between them are not as intense as their La Liga days.
City are sitting proud at the top of the Premier League table, five points clear of nearest challengers Manchester United and with a game in hand.
Mourinho’s team, however, have dropped to eighth in the English top-flight, 14 points behind the leaders.
City are in fine form heading into Saturday’s encounter, having won 15 games in a row and remain unbeaten since November, while Spurs have lost four of their last five matches.
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