Pep Guardiola Says Jose Mourinho 'Will Come Back Soon' After Getting Sacked

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistDecember 18, 2018

FILE - In this Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2016 file photo, Manchester City's manager Pep Guardiola, left, and Manchester United's manager Jose Mourinho smile ahead of their English League Cup soccer match at Old Trafford stadium in Manchester. There were handshakes, smiles, even an embrace, in the first two head-to-heads between Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho in English soccer. With the pressure and tension ramped up a notch for the third Manchester derby of the season, will the two coaching adversaries be able to retain their new-found cordiality on Thursday, April 27? (AP Photo/Dave Thompson, file)
Dave Thompson/Associated Press

Jose Mourinho "will come back soon" after getting sacked by Manchester United on Tuesday, according to Pep Guardiola.

The Manchester City coach sided with his great rival and cited the 55-year-old's experience as a reason the two will engage in more managerial duels:

Mourinho's longtime nemesis spoke after guiding local rivals Manchester City to the Carabao Cup semi-final following a 3-1 penalty shootout win over Leicester City at the King Power Stadium.

Guardiola and the Citizens won the same competition last season, beating Arsenal 3-0 in the final at Wembley Stadium. City also claimed the Premier League title after finishing 19 points ahead of Mourinho's United, who ended the campaign in second place but without a trophy.

Ironically, finishing so far behind City represented arguably the high point of Mourinho's tenure with the Red Devils. There's unlikely to be an improvement this season for United, currently in sixth place and 19 points adrift of leaders Liverpool and 18 behind City.

Mourinho paid the price when United announced his dismissal on the club's official website:

The Red Devils plan to appoint a caretaker boss to oversee the rest of the season. Former Old Trafford legend Ole Gunnar Solskjaer appears a prime candidate after the team's website posted a since-deleted video, seemingly announcing his arrival ahead of schedule, per Liam Prenderville and Jacob Murtagh of the Daily Mirror.

Whether Solskjaer arrives or not, Mourinho's tenure will be remembered by many for his failure to keep up with Guardiola. The two arrived in Manchester in 2016, with Mourinho initially taking his team to silverware quicker, winning the EFL Cup and UEFA Europa League.

Yet it was Guardiola who captured the league crown sooner. The Spaniard also continued to dominate the Portuguese, winning three and drawing one of their five encounters in England's top flight.

More than the trophies each put on the table, Guardiola won plaudits and admirers inside and outside of Manchester thanks to his team's enterprising style of play. While Mourinho's United were often defensive and lacking in ambition and quality going forward, City won with free-scoring creativity:

United want the next man in charge, even if it's only on a temporary basis, to restore their "attacking tradition," according to BBC Sport's Simon Stone.

Regardless of the changing landscape at Old Trafford, Mourinho is a good bet to return to top-level management as Guardiola indicated. His track record features an enviable haul of major trophies, including winning the UEFA Champions League with Porto and Inter Milan.

Even at his lowest point, Mourinho managed to win a pair of trophies and take United to the 2018 FA Cup final in less than three seasons in charge.

Klopp also believes Mourinho will be back.
Klopp also believes Mourinho will be back.Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

A track record this impressive is why Jurgen Klopp also believes Mourinho will have no trouble finding a new job, per Andy Hunter of the Guardian: "If Jose wants to have another job, he has it in two days. That's really easy. We are talking about someone at a really high level."

Klopp's Liverpool beat United 3-1 at Anfield on Sunday in what proved to be Mourinho's last game in charge. While he may welcome a brief break after some turbulent times at Old Trafford, it would be no surprise if Mourinho is back in charge of a contender in one of Europe's top leagues sooner rather than later.

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