Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho insists the British media completely over-egged his reported rivalry with Manchester City counterpart Pep Guardiola.
Having butted heads as managers of Real Madrid and Barcelona, the renewal of hostilities at the start of last season eventually turned out to be a rather meek affair – but that has not shocked the United manager.
“It was not a surprise for me,” Mourinho said. “It was a surprise for the people that were selling the rivalry.
“We worked together for three years (at Barcelona), we shared a changing room, we were laughing and smiling with victories, and crying with defeats.
“For three years we defended the same club and our relationship was so good for these three years.
“After that he became Barcelona manager and I was Real Madrid manager in a very specific moment of both clubs, where one was the top club in Europe and the other one was a giant in trouble.
“The fight in a country like Spain became the fight of two clubs because the distance to the others is huge and the competition was all about us. It happened.
“When Pep came to England I was absolutely sure that with the type of competition we have in England, I was sure that it was not about United and City, or Mourinho and Pep. I am sorry if you are disappointed.”