'Polite guys' will shake hands, declares Pep

Pep Guardiola (left) and Jose Mourinho, then coaches of Barcelona and Real Madrid respectively, reluctantly greeting each other before the first leg of the Spanish Super Cup at the Bernabeu back in August 2011.
Pep Guardiola (left) and Jose Mourinho, then coaches of Barcelona and Real Madrid respectively, reluctantly greeting each other before the first leg of the Spanish Super Cup at the Bernabeu back in August 2011. PHOTO: ACTION IMAGES

BEIJING • Pep Guardiola has brushed aside any possibility of not shaking Jose Mourinho's hand when Manchester City play Manchester United in a friendly in Beijing today, with the City manager saying: "We are polite guys."

The Catalan's rivalry with the United manager was fractious when he was in charge of Barcelona and the Portuguese was the Real Madrid boss. However, each has insisted he will not overly focus on the other man since they took over at 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."

The game is the first Mancunian derby to be staged overseas. Yet, Guardiola stated that his chief aim is to ensure there are "no injuries", with the manager concerned over the surface of the National Stadium pitch which has been affected by the heavy rains lashing the capital.

United landed in Beijing late yesterday, after their flight from Shanghai had to be diverted to Tianjin due to bad weather.

There were further delays as Mourinho's pre-match press conference was moved at the last minute when United officials decided the manager could not hold it in the allotted room as it was "too hot and too full".

Mourinho later met the press near the side of the pitch at the Olympic Sports Centre where he repeated Guardiola's earlier wish that his players come through the match unscathed.

"It is the end and we can almost go home and train in conditions where the players are safe," he said.

THE GUARDIAN

MAN CITY V MAN UNITED

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 25, 2016, with the headline ''Polite guys' will shake hands, declares Pep'. Print Edition | Subscribe