Manchester City players attend a training session on Saturday.
Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola believes his Tottenham Hotspur counterpart Jose Mourinho deserves more respect as the duo prepare to renew their rivalry on Sunday.
Mourinho replaced Mauricio Pochettino as Spurs manager in November but has endured a mixed start in north London, guiding the club to just one win in their last five Premier League matches.
The Portuguese was sacked from his previous two jobs - at Manchester United and Chelsea - and has been criticised for his tactics in recent months.
Guardiola dismissed the notion that Mourinho’s methods are outdated when compared to his and those of Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp.
“The value of Jose, a manager with a lot of experience with a lot of success, is not to be judged on one season, or 1-1/2 seasons,” Guardiola told a news conference on Friday.
“I’ve always had incredible respect for what he’s had in his career. You have seasons with good and bad periods, and have to rebuild things. For 15 or 20 years he’s been there (successful) all the time and that must be respected, it’s the most difficult thing to be there all the time.
“Michael Jordan won six NBA titles, they lost more than they won but he was the greatest athlete ¬¬-- you keep going and work hard.”
Guardiola’s City proved to be too strong for Mourinho’s United during the Portuguese’s 2-1/2 seasons in charge at Old Trafford, but the rivalry was less ferocious than when the pair were the respective managers of Barcelona and Real Madrid.
“Maybe we are older and more experienced,” Guardiola added.
“I know every time we played people weren’t talking about who is going to win, just my performance or his, and after that they’d be happy. It didn’t happen.”
Guardiola has not ruled out centre back Aymeric Laporte from City’s trip to Spurs. The Frenchman felt fatigued following his comeback game against Sheffield United.
“If Laporte had a set-back, I would tell you - I only tell the truth,” Guardiola said.
“Maybe he can play against Spurs, but we don’t know just yet and if he can’t, he will be fine for West Ham.”
Tottenham Hotspur boss Mourinho says he prefers to remember his time being at the same club as Guardiola rather than think about their rivalry as managers.
It is a rivalry which had ups and downs for both men, but Mourinho is playing down the latest instalment as Manchester City travel to Spurs on Sunday.
“With him I remember more the three years we fought on the same side, working together at the same club,” he said.
“The space of the work every day for three years. I remember more that than what people can speak about rivalry.
“Then of course Barcelona and Real Madrid, Inter and Barcelona in the Champions League, City and United, now Tottenham and City.
“Again no Jose and Pep. Clubs, teams and that’s just one more. A new chapter for us because it’s the first time, Tottenham against Manchester City with us.
“Never Jose and Josep, like he is in Catalan.
“For me, it’s a game I want to win because I want my team to win and we need points. No more than that.”
City have played twice since Spurs last took to the field as they were involved in the FA Cup on Sunday and the Carabao Cup on Wednesday night.
Mourinho has been able to enjoy a productive week on the training pitch, but thinks City’s progression to Wembley in the League Cup will give them a boost.
“I have to be honest and say that it was a good week of work for us,” he said.
Meanwhile, Tottenham Hotspur manager Jose Mourinho is excited about his latest young signings as he seeks to rebuild last season’s Champions League finalists following a slump this term that has left them struggling for a top-four spot in the Premier League.
The Spurs boss, criticised in the past for relying too much on experienced players, appears keen to develop a young squad, having recruited Dutchman Steven Bergwijn, 21, and Portuguese loan signing Gedson Fernandes, 19, in the January window.
Fernandes made his first start in the FA Cup fourth round tie at Southampton last weekend and Mourinho said Bergwijn, who joined the club on Wednesday, will be involved in Sunday’s Premier League game at home to champions Manchester City.