London, Sep 9 (IANS) English Premier League (EPL) side Manchester City head coach Pep Guardiola has promised that he will join Manchester United counterpart Jose Mourinho for a drink after the Manchester football derby, if the latter makes the offer.
Guardiola’s side will go into Saturday’s match at Old Trafford with his side leading after three wins. United also have a 100 per cent record under Mourinho.
But the City coach has insisted that their rivalry that stretches back to when the pair were in charge of Barcelona and Real Madrid respectively will not boil over.
“If he invites me to do that I will accept. I have said many times I have a lot of respect for him. I always try to learn from all my colleagues and opponents and I learn from him as well. Jose was my coach, when he was assistant to Bobby Robson,” Guardiola said at a press conference when asked if he would go for a drink with Mourinho.
“The last meeting in Madrid with Barcelona was not easy but we met each other two or three weeks ago at a Premier League managers get-together and we spoke with each other, and with Ronald Koeman and Tony Pulis. So it was OK. The rivalry between us is more in the media,” he said, according to his club’s website.
Guardiola will also encounter United striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who has made some less than complimentary remarks about Guardiola in a book that has been widely quoted in recent weeks but the City manager said he always rated the former Sweden captain as a player.
“I have a lot of respect for Zlatan and what he has done in the football world and his career,” Guardiola said.
“He has had a big impact everywhere he has been and he is an amazing talent, one of the best around. The best players always have an impact. The big players always bring their talent to a club immediately, they don’t need time to adapt to a new league or understand another country,” he added.
Goalkeeper Claudio Bravo will make debut following his move from Barcelona, though midfielders Ilkay Gundogan and Leroy Sane are unlikely to be risked and defender Vincent Kompany needs more time.
“Vincent is training but we are waiting for a blood test to come back from the doctor,” Guardiola said.
“We don’t want to take too much risk about what happened in the past. We want to make sure when he comes back he is 100 per cent fit.”
Speaking about Sergio Agüero, who is suspended the Catalan said: “Sergio is an important player for us but we knew seven or eight days ago he was not going to be able to play and we would need to use other players.
“I am a new guy here and I have to learn how things work, but you can be sure I learn quick. I take note of what happened and store it for the future.”