Saturday 20 July 2019

Pep Guardiola stands up for Jose Mourinho but says results are everything

They were rivals in Spain and now boss the success-hungry giants of Manchester.

Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola are managing two of the world’s biggest clubs (Martin Rickett/PA)
Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola are managing two of the world’s biggest clubs (Martin Rickett/PA)

By Phil Medlicott, Press Association Sport

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola says he has never doubted long-time rival Jose Mourinho’s quality as a manager and insists Manchester United “remain a great team”.

Mourinho’s United have suffered defeats in two of their opening three games this season, losing 3-2 at Brighton and then 3-0 to Tottenham at Old Trafford on Monday.

It is the first time the club have lost two of their first three matches of a Premier League campaign since 1992-93, and the Spurs result was Mourinho’s heaviest home loss in management.

Manchester United crumbled in the second half against Tottenham (Nick Potts/PA)

It has left United 13th in the table, six points behind Liverpool, Spurs, Chelsea and Watford, and four points behind defending champions City.

After the Tottenham game, Mourinho concluded a spiky post-match press conference by pointing out he had won the division three times, then demanding “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, said of Mourinho: “The history, and the way Jose did in all the places he was – it’s hats off.

“There’s no doubts about his quality. I never have in the past, and never now.”

Jose Mourinho is experiencing a tough start to the season (Gareth Fuller/PA)

Guardiola added: “Our position is results. But every manager, what he believes, what he likes, tries to get results in his own style.

“We are judged for the results we get.

“Only the players know exactly how you are as a manager because they know you and see you every day. They have more information than the rest of the world – the fans, the media, everybody.

“And normally, even (by) the players, we are judged – if they play, the manager is good, if they don’t play, the manager is not good.”

When Guardiola was asked if he was surprised about the amount of pressure Mourinho had come under so early in the season, 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.

“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.”

Guardiola 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.”

Burnley boss Sean Dyche has no shortage of respect for Mourinho, who, as well as triumphing in the Premier League three times with Chelsea, has also won the top flight in Spain, Italy and Portugal, and the Champions League twice.

Burnley manager Sean Dyche tries to learn from Mourinho (Martin Rickett/PA)

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, and all managers. But I think you’ve got to have a bit more respect for when they (people like Mourinho) have done the things they have done in the game.”

Dyche 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.”

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