Jose Mourinho says that his rivalry with Pep Guardiola has died down in the years since the two were both managing the most important teams in La Liga.
The Manchester derby is set to be exported to the United States, with the overseas football audience in for a treat for the summer. Manchester United play City on July 21st at the NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas. The game is a chance for the team to prepare for the upcoming season, as well as a chance to showcase their stars to the football fans outside of Europe.
The game pits against each other two of the biggest teams in England, teams involved in a historic rivalry. However, another selling point is set to be the rivalry between the teams’ two managers, Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho. Two of the most decorated managers in recent decades, they have had the chance to reconvene in the Premier League, after having helmed the two biggest clubs in Spain, Barcelona and Real Madrid.
When they were managing in La Liga, the two were involved in likely the most watched and highly debated derby in the world. The rivalry between the two was reported to be just as fierce. Mourinho says that now things have changed. It’s not that enough time has passed, but their teams are also not the only important sides in the league as was often the case in Spain (if you discount Atletico Madrid).
“In Spain, it is two clubs fighting against each other. Now Atletico Madrid is also close, but in our time, it was just about us,” Mourinho says. “For three years, it was just about us. Champions League matches, La Liga titles, Copa del Rey finals, Super Cup finals. Everything was about Real and Barcelona.”
Mourinho says he was aware that competition in the Premier League would be much tougher. “We were in a situation of it being not easy. In England, I knew before it happened that it would be completely different because it’s a completely different league.”
The current Manchester United manager believes that himself and Guardiola were lucky to have been part of a period in European football that by the look of things are not set to return too soon.
“It was just the consequence of being in Barcelona and Real Madrid in a specific period of their history. Barcelona was in the top. Real Madrid was in the low and trying to come and break that Barcelona dominancy.”