The Manchester Derby has always been a big game in the English footballing calendar, but even more so since Sheikh Mansour took over Man City in 2008. The noisy neighbours have become louder, and louder winning the Premier League twice in recent years.
Now, arguably the best two managers in world football are leading the two Manchester clubs. The most ferocious rivalry in world football is gracing the Manchester derby for the first time. In what will make an explosive occasion with a huge worldwide audience.
But where did this all start and how have both managers started life in Manchester?
The first encounters between Jose and Pep were back in Guardiola’s playing days for Barcelona. Ironically the former Manchester United boss Louis Van Gaal was in charge of Barcelona at the time, with a fresh faced Jose Mourinho a coach at the club. There were rumours at the time that Jose and Pep had a fractious relationship, but how much of that was newspaper talk is hard to tell.
It wasn’t until Mourinho was managing Inter Milan that the pair met in a managerial capacity, during the Champions League in 2009. The first leg was a cagey affair ending in a 0-0 draw. The return leg at the Nou Camp was a different story with the impressive Barcelona running out 2 nil victors.
In 2010 the two met again, this time in the Champions League Semi Final. Inter Milan were far superior tactically on the night and rightly won 3-1, but this was the first time we saw a real bit of needle between the two managers, with some unsavoury remarks made after the match. Guardiola thought they deserved a penalty but Jose jibed about Chelsea’s bad luck with refereeing decisions against Barcelona in the season earlier, as if karma had its part to play.
The return leg saw Barcelona win 1-0 with Inter progressing and eventually winning the Champions league, the 2nd time for Jose, rounding off a mightily impressive treble with the Italian giants.
Head to Head from Inter Milan vs Barcelona:
In 2010 when Jose Mourinho was appointed manager at Real Madrid, the rivalry cranked up a notch.
In November 2010 in their first match in La Liga, Barcelona ran riot on Jose’s Real Madrid team winning 5-0. In the press conference after the match Guardiola took another snipe at Jose’s perceived style of football saying “I’m proud the whole world has seen how WE play football”.
The next round of encounters came thick and fast with Real Madrid and Barcelona meeting 4 times within the space of a month between April 2011 and May 2011.
After the beating Madrid suffered at the hands of Barcelona just 5 months earlier, Jose stiffened the team up playing Pepe in midfield to try and contain the Barca attacks. This tactic worked with the game ending a 1-1 draw.
Jose did taste victory against Guardiola a few days later in the Spanish Cup final, with Ronaldo’s injury time header, a game which once again saw Pepe play in midfield.
The next 2 encounters in April and May 2011 came in the Champions League semi-final with Barcelona winning the away leg 0-2, and a 1-1 draw in the return leg which saw Pep’s Barcelona team progressing to the final, outplaying Man United with a 3-1 victory at Wembley in the final.
The two came head to head at the start of the following season in the Spanish Super cup, played over 2 legs in which Barcelona, won having drawn 2-2 in the first leg and winning the return leg 3-2. The return leg however is probably remembered more for the pitch side antics with Mourinho’s infamous poke in the eye of Barca assistant Tito Vilanova.
The next 2 matches again saw Barca victorious, firstly in the League in Dec 2011 with a 1-2 away win. Real Madrid however seemed solid against other La Liga teams, winning 11 in a row after that El Clasico loss.
This defeat for Madrid was followed by a 1-2 away win for Barcelona in the first leg of the Spanish cup quarter final. Madrid’s tempers flared as Pepe stamped on Messi, and splits seemed apparent in the Madrid dressing room. The Copa Del Rey return leg was a 2-2 draw with Madid making a fight of the leg coming back from 2 nil down but ultimately Barca progressing to the semi-finals.
The next meeting of the two managers came in April 2012 a big day for Jose and Madrid with one hand on the title. Ronaldo with the decisive strike in a 2-1 win, Real Madrid seven points clear at the top of La Liga with four games remaining. It was also Real Madrid’s first win in El Classico in 4 seasons.
Real won the league that season with an impressive goal haul of 121, a record set by a Jose Mourinho team silencing many pundits who criticize his ‘boring’ style.
Head to Head from Real Madrid vs Barcelona:
There was one more meeting between the two mangers when Pep moved on to Bayern Munich and Jose at his second spell at Chelsea in the UEFA Super cup which ended 1-1, Bayern ultimately winning on penalties.
So Pep has beaten Jose’s sides more than twice the amount of time he has tasted defeat with 7 wins to Jose’s 3 with 6 draws.
This makes for good reading for Man City fans as Guardiola seems to have the advantage over Mourinho, or so history dictates. It has to be said however that the Barcelona team Guardiola was in charge of during Jose’s time at Madrid was far superior, with Madrid ever reliant on Cristiano Ronaldo to pull them through matches. When you step back from the head to heads, I’m sure Mourinho will let it be known he has won more trophies than Guardiola amassing 23 trophies to Pep’s 21.
The Premier League is also a different beast compared to La Liga, with Jose stating in his first press conference that the Premier League is not just about him vs Pep, and if he thinks like that United will not win the league. It has to be said the two Manchester clubs are both very evenly matched, and have both had impressive starts to the season.
Both teams have 9 points from the 9 on offer. Pep’s Man City have registered more successful passes than Man United in the first 3 games with 1456 against United’s 1335, although Jose’s United has a slightly higher pass completion rate of 87% against 85% for City.
Man City have been a little more prolific in front of goal with 9 goals scored so far this season to United’s 6, however Man United have only conceded 1 goal whereas City have conceded 3.
So there is nothing between the two clubs so far this season, which will make for a very intriguing match. With Sergio Aguero retrospectively banned for an elbow on West Ham’s Winston Reid, it may just give United the advantage, who will not want to lose their first match of the season against City, and Jose certainly not against Guardiola. I wouldn’t be surprised if this game was a cagey affair and a potential draw on the cards with neither manager wanting to lose to against each other. Either way, the game will be captivating viewing as two colossal managers, and two clubs steeped in history clash in what will be the most viewed game of the season so far.