Mourinho wanted Guardiola as Barça No 2


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The Independent Football

Jose Mourinho wanted Pep Guardiola to be his No 2 at the Nou Camp when he was interviewed for the Barcelona job in 2008.

The Real Madrid coach, who takes his extraordinary record in local derbies into a home game with Atletico Madrid tonight, wanted Guardiola on his staff, according to the then vice-president, Marc Ingla.

"We had a meeting in Lisbon in a bank with him and his representative," Ingla told Catalan television TV3. "Mourinho showed us a power-point presentation that summed up his footballing philosophy: how he would evolve our famous 4-3-3, the ins and outs he had in mind, and even the people that would make up his technical staff. Among the names he suggested for his No 2 was Guardiola."

Ingla also disclosed the reason why the club ultimately decided to give the job to Guardiola and not to Mourinho: "He [Guardiola] was the first choice of Txiki Begiristain [then sporting director] and Mourinho told us he would not change his attitude towards the way he used the media."

Mourinho's side have a three-point lead over Guardiola's Barcelona in La Liga. Tonight's opponents, Atletico Madrid, have not defeated Real Madrid in 12 seasons, but Mourinho warned: "Statistics count for nothing in derbies. My first derby was Benfica against Sporting; I was Benfica coach and we were playing badly but we put three past them."

The former Chelsea coach, who welcomes back Angel di Maria, has never lost a home derby, winning 17 of a possible 21. Barcelona will also be in the Spanish capital tonight to play Getafe, but without Andres Iniesta, who is still recovering from a thigh problem. Another absentee will be Guardiola's assistant, Tito Vilanova, who has had emergency surgery on a saliva gland.

"He is sorely missed because he is a very close friend of mine and because he is also very good at what he does. But the doctors have done a wonderful job," Guardiola said.

In France tomorrow, the Ligue One leaders Paris St-Germain visit Marseilles, who are 12 points behind them. Didier Deschamps' side need to recover from their defeat to Olympiakos in the Champions League in midweek to save their domestic season.