The Catalan’s rivalry with the United manager was fractious when he was in charge of Barcelona and the Portuguese was the Real Madrid No1. However each has so far insisted they will not overly focus on the other man since they took over City and United, respectively.
Asked if he would shake Mourinho’s hand ahead of the pre-season International Champions Cup match at Beijing’s National Stadium, Guardiola said: “We are polite guys – why not? Why should we not shake hands? No reason why. He will want to win and so will I, that’s all.
“I saw United’s game against [Borussia] Dortmund [a 4-1 defeat in Shanghai on Friday] and that’s all. It’s too early to know how they will be. I’m pretty sure they will be stronger than in previous years. Of course, with this manager and with the good players they already had and I’m sure they will buy new players. They will be a strong team.”
The game is the first Mancunian derby to be staged overseas. Yet Guardiola stated his chief aim is to “no injuries”, with the manager concerned over the surface of the National Stadium pitch.
Heavy thunderstorms are forecast in the Chinese capital and while City currently view the surface as playable the club continues to monitor it. Sunday’s training session for each club was moved the nearby Olympic Sports Centre on Sunday.
Guardiola said: “We didn’t see the pitch but there is a lot of water in the last days so we understand it’s not in a good condition but, OK, we’re going to adapt and adjust. It’s our second game of preparation – the most important thing is that the players are not going to be injured.
“We know the humidity for the training is not ideal, but we also know that it’s so important to come here to know the people and to play a good two games against amazing teams like United and Dortmund. We don’t want to expend too much energy in training because of the humidity but we stay here, we play, and then go back to Manchester for two more weeks of preparation before the first official game.”
Guardiola will not rush Vincent Kompany back. “The most important thing is for Vincent to get fit – if it’s for Sunderland [City’s opening Premier League game], perfect. He has to get fit. That’s all.”
This article was written by Jamie Jackson in Beijing, for theguardian.com on Sunday 24th July 2016 06.30 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010