Beating Jose Mourinho is "not a special situation" for Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola as he prepares to resume hostilities with his old adversary in Sunday's derby at Old Trafford.
A sapping run of four Clasicos in 18 days across three competitions was the catalyst for relations between the pair deteriorating significantly as they helmed Real Madrid and Barcelona – those 2011 games adding another layer of intensity to European football's bitterest rivalry.
Guardiola's great Barca side were treble winners in 2008-09 but fell to Mourinho as Inter went all the way in the 2009-10 Champions League, the prelude to a titanic battle where both coaches took a LaLiga title apiece across two seasons in direct competition.
A pair Champions League wins apiece, Barca retained their crown in 2010-11 while Mourinho enjoyed a breakout run to glory in 2003-04 at Porto, another factor that ensures the duo are condemned to comparisons between one another.
Three Manchester derbies last season passed off with a win for each and draw, not to mention precious little antagonism.
Mourinho seemingly sought to stoke the fires of old on Friday when he accused City players of diving and questioned whether Guardiola being allowed to wear a yellow ribbon on the touchline, in support of imprisoned politicians in his native Catalonia, amounted to special treatment from the football authorities.
The City boss described the duo's relationship now as "much better", while acknowledging it is one that exists at a distance – something that might account for a more dispassionate take on how the rivalry sits today.
"We've faced each other many times in the big moments. We win, we lose," said Guardiola.
"It's going to happen over the next 10, 20 or 30 years – I'm going to beat him in all the games, he's going to beat me in all the games.
"My opinion about what he has done will never change. I know the way we see the game is different. That is normal.
"We love to compete, we love to win games but, believe me, it is not a special situation when we beat a Mourinho team. At all.
"I want to win but I am a small man. When I lose, I accept the defeat and I try to learn from that for the next one and move on.
"I respect my colleagues a lot, Jose as well. He knows, I know we want to beat each other."
Next up... pic.twitter.com/Y1GzK7LRd2— Manchester City (@ManCity) December 7, 2017
David Silva found himself as the focus of some other Mourinho mischief earlier this week, when he suggested Guardiola's claims of the City playmaker being a doubt for this weekend were made up.
Silva has since been passed fit and, having signed a contract extension last week, will look to add to a fine body of work in Manchester derbies.
Ex-Liverpool and England defender Jamie Carragher recently declared the 31-year-old Spain international to be City's best ever player, but Guardiola joked he was wary of making the same proclamation for fear of offending for club great.
"If I say that Mike Summerbee is going to kill me," he said.
"I don't know. He is one of the best and if you say he is the best I am not going to deny that.
"Definitely he is a legend for the club, like Joe Hart, Yaya Toure Vincent Kompany, Pablo Zabaleta and the players before.
"He has a special talent to understand the game. He's a guy who doesn’t speak too much but on the field he never takes a step back. Always in the bad moments he makes a step forward."
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