Jose Mourinho has been advised not to go to ‘war’ by Barcelona legend Xavi, who says the Man Utd boss needs at least one more transfer window before the club can be considered title challengers.
Xavi played under Pep Guardiola at Barca while Mourinho managed Real Madrid at a time when relations between the two Spanish giants became toxic.
Mourinho and Guardiola are again in direct competition in Manchester, with United and City meeting for a second time this season in the EFL Cup at Old Trafford on Wednesday.
Prior to the last derby meeting – a 2-1 win for City last month – the managers calmed the tensions by playing down their rivalry, but with United struggling for form, Xavi believes Mourinho should avoid the temptation to reignite their intense rivalry.
The 36-year-old told the Daily Mirror: “Sometimes, when things don’t go well for Mourinho, he wants war not football – like when he was at Madrid – and I hope we don’t see that again in England.”
“When I knew they would be rival coaches again, I knew it would be good for football. I knew it would be especially good for English football.
“They’re two of the best coaches in the world and their duel can be the best in football.”
Xavi believes both managers will be desperate to triumph in the EFL Cup.
“Both coaches are going to want to win this game,” he said. “I don’t believe this is a competition they will not take seriously.
“Pep will not be worrying, that’s not his way – but he will not have been happy with recent results – and a good win against the biggest rivals could put them on a good run again.
“Pep will also want to win his first competition with City, that will be important for him.
“Even with City dropping some points in the league, I still think under Pep they’ll be champions this season.
“The domestic competitions have to be everything for United and Mourinho this season. I don’t think this season they can win the Premier League. These competitions are their hope for a trophy.
“Once Mourinho has had another transfer window, maybe they’ll be ready, but for now they must secure a finish in a Champions League spot – that’s where United belong.”