Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Jose's Sulks Play into Pep's Hands

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Jose's Sulks Play into Pep's Hands

Article excerpt

AS the Premier League rolls round once more, Chelsea with their new coach and Liverpool with their new spine look the most likely teams to challenge City.

Premier League titles seem to arrive at Stamford Bridge as regularly as managers depart while the caveats to their pre-season wins have been unable to stop the bubble around Jurgen Klopp's team from expanding.

The expectation on both is understandable given Maurizio Sarri gave City their toughest game of the season and Liverpool won three out of four meetings, but the team that finished second in the league are not being given a look-in with United are the longest odds they've been for the title in over 20 years. For Guardiola though, the one concern will be that the last time he saw similar behaviour from the Portuguese coach close up it ended very differently.

After seeing his Real Madrid team battered 5-0 in his first Clasico, Mourinho turned his back on any notion of a fair or sporting contest even as he was knocked out of the Champions League by Barcelona during his first year at the Bernabeu.

There's a point in Macbeth where the protagonist's good Lady agonises over the fact that she has waded into so much blood that 'returning were as tedious as go o'er'; if the Real Madrid boss had any such doubts, he never let them be known as he embarked on a scorchedearth-and-gouged-eyes policy that produced one of the ugliest rivalries seen in the modern game.

Guardiola's career achievements were labelled 'embarrassing' and 'scandalous', and his assistant Tito Vilanova poked in the eye as Mourinho lit fires that make criticising Anthony Martial for having the nerve to be with his partner for the birth of their child seem like nothing more than hot air.

Just when it appeared the manager was becoming a pyromaniac, he withdrew and set about fireguarding his squad, building a team spirit that produced an extraordinary season to dethrone Barcelona and smash a number of Spanish records. …

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