Jose Mourinho has outlined his plans for the upcoming Manchester derby, highlighting the problematic permutations that stem from the international break.
The Portuguese boss and Pep Guardiola, now manager of Manchester City, developed a vicious rivalry as managers of Real Madrid and Barcelona respectively, and will lock horns once again at Old Trafford on September 10.
Both managers have made a perfect start to life in Manchester, winning all three of their opening Premier League games.
Speaking to ManUtd.com, Mourinho discussed the upcoming arrival of the most highly anticipated derby in years.
“We are going to lose the others and we don’t know the way they train, the way they recover, the life they are going to have with their national teams.
“Some are coming back on the Monday before the Manchester City match but some are coming back on Friday. The day before Man City, we will still have Sergio Romero, Marcos Rojo and Antonio Valencia arriving.
“It will be a complicated process but we know it is like this when we have these players. And I would love all of the players to go because it would mean that everybody is being selected for their national teams.”
One suspects that the 53-year-old has been quietly formulating a method to topple Guardiola for several months now. It was, after all, the worst kept secret of last season: Mourinho and Guardiola were going to be in opposite dugouts once again, and it was going to be explosive.
As Mourinho watched Manchester United’s season unravel under Louis van Gaal from his home in London, there is no doubt that a meticulous game plan was being devised in the Portuguese’s head. Likewise, as Guardiola, romping to another rudimentary title success with Bayern Munich, turned his thoughts to Manchester, it wouldn’t be surprising to learn that a game plan to topple Mourinho was circulating in his head as well.
On September 10, therefore, the footballing world will witness two geniuses of the modern game go head to head, launching their game plans after months of punctilious deliberation.