Sport Soccer

Tuesday 25 June 2019

Pep Guardiola backs Jose Mourinho amid criticism

Manchester United boss has been struggling for results.

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho (left) and Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola (Nick Potts/PA)
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho (left) and Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola (Nick Potts/PA)

By Phil Medlicott, Press Association Sport

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has no doubt his old rival Jose Mourinho is a “top” manager and that Manchester United “remain a great team.”

Mourinho’s United have lost two of their opening three games this season, a 3-2 defeat at Brighton followed by Monday’s 3-0 reverse against Tottenham at Old Trafford – his heaviest home loss in management.

It has left the Red Devils 13th in the Premier League, six points behind Liverpool, Spurs, Chelsea and Watford, and four points behind defending champions City.

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Little is going right for Jose Mourinho (Gareth Fuller/PA)

After the Spurs clash, Mourinho concluded a spiky post-match press conference by pointing out he had won the division three times before saying “respect, respect, respect” as he walked out.

And on Friday, speaking ahead of United’s match at Burnley on Sunday, the Portuguese described himself as “one of the greatest managers in the world.”

Guardiola, whose side host Newcastle on Saturday, was asked at his pre-match conference press on Friday if he was surprised about the amount of pressure Mourinho had come under so early in the season.

And he said: “(It’s) our job unfortunately.

“It’s happened to me in the past. All the managers – our job depends on results. When we win we are good, when we don’t win we are not good, it is simple like that.

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Pep Guardiola has stuck up for his old rival (Martin Rickett/PA)

“The important (thing) is to know the quality and always I believe when you get (to) that level in the Premier League, all the managers are here because they are top, top managers.”

He was also asked if he was surprised about United’s position in the table, and said: “(They) remain a great team, a top team.

“We’re just in August. It’s just August, so a lot of points to play (for), and after the international break starts the real season.”

Meanwhile, Burnley boss Sean Dyche has had his say on respect for Mourinho, who, as well as the Premier League three times with Chelsea, has also won the top flight in Spain, Italy and Portugal, and the Champions League twice.

Dyche said: “My respect for people like Jose is because I am a young manager, learning the game, and these people have done enormous amounts in the game, for the game.

“People forget that. In this job you get questioned for what is happening now – people soon forget your history and what you’ve done.

“He’s done massive things for the game – for him, for the clubs, and for the game. I have respect for all those people.

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Sean Dyche is a Mourinho fan (Martin Rickett/PA)

“I have respect for all managers. It is such a tough job. Whether you are a manager in the Premier League, in League Two, in non-league, it’s a very, very tough job.

“But I think you’ve got to have a bit more respect for when they’ve done the things they have done in the game.”

He added: “I’m certainly not going to question his conduct because he knows what he is doing, I’m pretty sure of that, whatever everyone else thinks.”

Press Association

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