Jose Mourinho: Man City prone to committing 'tactical foul'

Manchester City are prone to committing a "tactical foul", according to Jose Mourinho.

On the eve of Sunday's Manchester derby, United boss Mourinho has been talking about how Pep Guardiola's attacking City side are able to recover defensively.

The blue side of Manchester has become synonymous with free-flowing football under Guardiola, particularly in this, the second season of his tenure.

Mourinho is a fan, but reckons committing fouls on purpose helps their mastery.

"It is a strategy (City) have," he told a number of national newspapers.

"They attack with a lot of players. When they lose the ball, they are many times unbalanced in numbers, they have lots of people surrounding the ball area and have a very strong - and this is a great quality - transition in the next few seconds after they lose the ball, and many times they need what is called a tactical foul.

"Then it is up to the referee to analyse and make a decision about it, but I cannot speak about that."

While Mourinho's comments are not hugely inflammatory, they come a day after he said it only takes a "little bit of wind" to send City's players to the floor.

The Portuguese has been largely complimentary about his old foe Guardiola and his players, though, saying: "They are a good team. They defend well, they react well to the moment they lose the ball.

"They have a good dynamic in attack, they have creative movement. They have amazing players, they have a fantastic coach, they have lots of good things."

Meanwhile, Guardiola insists he respects Jose Mourinho highly despite their differences.

Guardiola and Mourinho have a fierce rivalry dating back to their times in charge of Barcelona and Real Madrid respectively.

Both have enjoyed highly successful managerial careers but their styles contrast, with Guardiola never compromising his attacking philosophies but Mourinho far more willing to take a pragmatic route to glory.

Any animosity between the pair was hidden from view as they settled into new roles in Manchester last season but Mourinho may have fuelled fresh tension this weekend.

Speaking at his pre-match press conference, the Portuguese accused City players of going to ground too easily. He also suggested he would be punished if he wore a political symbol such as the yellow ribbon Guardiola has been sporting recently in support of imprisoned Catalan politicians.

It now remains to be seen if the truce holds but at his own conference, which took place almost simultaneously on Friday, Guardiola would not engage in any verbal jousting.

Guardiola, whose side hold an eight-point lead over United at the top of the table, said: "We have faced each other many times in big moments.

"My opinion about what he has done as a manager will never change. I know the way we see the game is different but we love to compete, we love to win games.

"Believe me, it is not a special situation when I beat somebody's teams at all. I want to win but when I lose I accept the defeat and I try to learn from that for the next one. Then we move on.

"I respect a lot of my colleagues, Jose as well. We want to beat each other but what happens on the pitch happens on the pitch. After that it is over."

At one time Guardiola was thought to be among the leading contenders to take over at United from Alex Ferguson.

Ferguson, who retired in 2013, wrote that he even hinted as much to the Spaniard himself during a meeting in New York in 2012. Guardiola at the time was enjoying a sabbatical after leaving Barcelona.

But Guardiola, who eventually decided to return to football with Bayern Munich, says he does not remember such a thing being mentioned.

"If he suggested to me something like I go to Old Trafford, I don't remember," he said. "I know he has said that but I don't remember.

"We spoke about life, about football, the Premier League but he never sent me a message under the table to say, 'You know maybe United...' or something like that.

"It was just two friends, good friends, colleagues in football, talking about many things.

"I remember when he spoke a little bit fast it was difficult to understand him! But it was nice because he chose an amazing restaurant and, of course, he paid."


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