Speculation surrounding Mourinho’s long-term future intensified following Tottenham Hotspur’s stunning 3-0 victory at Old Trafford on Monday night, which consigned United to back-to-back league defeats after just three matches.
Mourinho made an impassioned defence of his management after the defeat to Tottenham, claiming his three Premier League titles with Chelsea mean he deserves to be shown “respect”.
Guardiola’s Barcelona and Mourinho’s Real Madrid enjoyed a competitive rivalry between 2010 and 2012, then were reunited on opposite sides of Manchester’s football divide two years ago.
Though tensions have existed between the pair in the past, Guardiola extended support to Mourinho on Friday, insisting that there is “no doubt” about the Portuguese’s managerial experience, talent and quality.
“I said many times I don’t judge,” he said, when asked about Mourinho’s recent struggles at Old Trafford.
“Of course we are judged for the titles we get, especially because if you won titles you have worked. But I don’t judge the managers only on that – the curriculum [i.e. CV], the history, the way Jose did in all the places he was – it’s hat’s off.
“There is no doubt about his quality. I never had it the past, never now. It’s not only titles. I said many times, I won because I won at amazing clubs with amazing players. If that had not happened, I would not have won titles. There are many good managers who don’t win titles but are excellent.
“That’s why if in one side it happens a lot of times it is because we have something special,” Guardiola added. “On the other side, a lot of managers are so, so good it’s not necessary to win prizes.
“You need players, good clubs that sustain you and support you, patience. In many circumstances the managers cannot control it and that does not mean they are not good.”
Guardiola has rarely had fallow spells or come under pressure for long periods of his managerial career, but he understands the manager’s lot in life and that recent results are often prioritised over historic achievements.
“Our position is results,” he said. “Every manager what he believes, what he likes, tries to get results in his own style and the way he trains. We are judged on the results we get.
“Only the players know exactly how you are as a manager because they know you and see you every day. They have more information than the rest of the world – the fans, the media, everybody.
“Only the players know exactly who we are and normally even then we are judged – if they play, the manager is good, if they don’t play the manager is not good.”
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