JOSE MOURINHO SAYS that he has only positive feelings for rival Pep Guardiola despite all of the heated battles between the two over the years.
The two legendary managers have faced off many times throughout their illustrious careers, with their rivalry in Spain among the fiercest in recent memory.
Mourinho’s Real Madrid regularly competed with Guardiola’s historic Barcelona side before the two became rivals once again in England when Guardiola joined Manchester City.
But, in their most recent clash, it was Mourinho who came out on top, as Spurs took down Man City 2-0 on Sunday in London.
The victory kept Spurs top-four hopes alive while damaging what little hope left Manchester City had of making a push towards the Premier League title.
And, while the two have battled many times over the years, both on the pitch and through their words, Mourinho insists he has nothing but respect for his managerial counterpart.
“It’s a pleasure to get three points in a match where we knew it would be very difficult,” Mourinho told BBC Sport after the match.
“I have better feelings for Pep than you can imagine. We worked together for three years.”
The match was not without controversy, though, as Mourinho said only the VAR referee knows why Raheem Sterling wasn’t red carded for simulation during Tottenham’s win.
Referee Mike Dean had produced a yellow card for the City forward after he planted his studs on the shins of Spurs midfielder Dele Alli early in the first half, and had a key decision to make when Sterling seemingly went down under minimal contact from goalkeeper Hugo Lloris later in the half.
But despite consulting VAR official Kevin Friend who concluded that no foul had been committed by the Spurs captain, the referee failed to produce a second yellow card for diving, handing City a reprieve.
The incident came after Lloris saved a penalty from Ilkay Gundogan with the game at 0-0 and challenged Sterling for the rebound, and afterwards Mourinho said he thought the chance to see the incident again should have convinced Friend to advise Dean dismiss the City man.
“Only [VAR] Kevin Friend can explain why it was not a red card [for Raheem Sterling],” he told BBC Sport. ”He has the chance to watch again. That decision would change the game.
“It would probably not be such an enjoyable game, one team with one player more for an hour is a big advantage. I think it’s a clear red card.”
Spurs’ win, earned thanks to goals from Steven Bergwijn and Son Heung-min, lifted them to fifth in the Premier League table as they seek to salvage their bid to qualify for next season’s Champions League.
“With a few draws of people in the same area of the table as us, it was very important to get three points,” said Mourinho. “We still have an eye on fourth. It was a match where you know the quality of the opponent. You want to win, but you can lose. I’m delighted with the boys.