MANCHESTER, England — Jose Mourinho has found an unlikely ally in Pep Guardiola after the Manchester City manager jumped to the defence of the Portuguese coach.
The Manchester United boss is under increasing pressure after losing two of the opening three games of the Premier League, with suggestions his job could be under threat.
Mourinho and Guardiola had an acrimonious relationship when they were rival managers at Real Madrid and Barcelona respectively, but the City boss defended his rival after his tough start.
“Unfortunately it’s our job, it’s happened to me in the past, our job depends on results,” Guardiola told a news conference ahead of Saturday’s clash with Newcastle.
“When we win we are good, when we don’t we are not good, it’s simple like that. The quality of the managers I believe is when you get to that level, all the managers they are top, top managers.”
United are already six points behind early Premier League leaders Liverpool and four points behind City, but Guardiola refused to rule United out of the title race.
“They remain a great team, a top team,” he said. “We’re just in August. There are teams above us but there a lot of points to play for and after the international break the real season starts.
“We dropped two points or we won one point at Wolves. One of the secrets of last season was when we didn’t get three points, we won the next game. We didn’t get bad results two or three games on the run, which is why we got what we got last season.”
Guardiola will be looking to bounce back from the draw with Wolves against Newcastle — against whom City have won their last nine Premier League home games.
Rafa Benitez set his side up in an ultra-defensive formation for last week’s defeat to Chelsea, just as they did in the two games against City last season.
Guardiola has a fully fit squad to choose from and says his side must cope with whatever style they come up against.
“Last season he did it against us away and at home, like Chelsea last week,” he added. “I didn’t speak with Rafa so I don’t know but we have to adapt.
“He believes that’s the best way for them to get points and we’ll try to adapt and defend well and attack well against any system they want to play.”