Rival managers Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola have dismissed suggestions there will be animosity between them during the Manchester derby.
Manchester United play neighbours Manchester City at Old Trafford on Saturday (12:30 BST) in one of the most eagerly anticipated Manchester derbies for decades.
Both United and City have new ‘super coaches’ in Mourinho and Guardiola respectively, and have started the Premier League season with 100% winning records.
The clubs spent heavily in a record-breaking summer transfer window, with United re-signing midfielder Paul Pogba for an £89m world record fee, and City making John Stones the second most expensive defender in history. at £47.5m.
Former Barcelona boss Guardiola suggested any personal rivalry with ex-Real Madrid manager Mourinho was created “from the media”.
“We can’t control that,” added the Spaniard. “I said it many times – I have a lot of respect for Mourinho. I always try to learn from all of my colleagues – it’s the same with him.
“He was my coach, my assistant coach with Sir Bobby Robson. OK, the last period at Barcelona and Real Madrid was not easy for both of us but we met each other two, three weeks ago at the managers’ Premier League meeting.
“Of course I’ll accept a glass of wine after the game if he invites me.”
Portuguese Mourinho added: “I know what the derby means. I’ve played them everywhere, but I always want to be in a position of emotional control. If we want to win we have to be at the top.
“They have a very good manager. They always have very good players and bought more. They are what they are since I returned to England. They are a title contender and you have to respect them.”
Either United or City have been Premier League champions for seven of the past 10 seasons.
Of the 171 previous Manchester derbies, United have won 71, City 49, with 51 drawn.
In 1973-74, the match at Maine Road, City’s old ground, had to be temporarily stopped because City’s Mike Doyle and United’s Lou Macari refused to leave the pitch after being sent off. In the second derby of the season, United legend Denis Law scored for City with a backheel as the Red Devils were relegated from the top flight.
City did not win a game against their rivals for 13 years from September 1989, but then signed off from Maine Road by beating Sir Alex Ferguson’s side 3-1.
More recently, City won 6-1 at Old Trafford in 2011, a game during which Mario Balotelli revealed his ‘Why Always Me?’ T-shirt after scoring.
Marcus Rashford’s winner for United at Etihad Stadium was the only Manchester derby goal last season.
Mourinho, a former PE teacher turned translator, worked his way up the coaching rungs and had won the Champions League with Porto and domestic titles in three different countries by the time the Barcelona manager’s job became available in 2008.
Instead, Barca promoted Pep Guardiola into his first managerial job and Spanish football expert Graham Hunter says Mourinho’s “bitterness at having something exceptional taken away from him” cost him “too much”.
“Mourinho’s dream was to go back to Barcelona as the number one and he planned to unveil Guardiola as his number two,” explains Spanish football writer Pete Jenson. “Not only does he not get the job, but the guy he was having as a number two gets it instead.
“It became Mourinho’s mission after that to prove to Barcelona what they never had, and make them sorry.”
At Inter Milan, Mourinho won the treble in 2009-2010, masterminding a Champions League final victory over Bayern Munich at the Bernabeu, home of Real Madrid. He moved to Madrid as a “hero”, says journalist Sid Lowe. “Madrid’s idea was, ‘You have stopped them, now come here and stop them and beat them here, for us’.”
Jenson adds: “Guardiola reached the point of exhaustion. He just likes to concentrate on the football while Mourinho brings in other things. It’s almost a war with him from the first game to the last.”
The most expensive game – Manchester Derby
Henry Winter, the Times’ chief football writer, says Mourinho has “put the swagger back” into United.
“He’s turned the power back on and addressed the issues down the spine,” he adds.
Striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, France midfielder Paul Pogba, Ivorian defender Eric Bailly, and playmaker Henrikh Mkhitaryan were signed this summer for combined fees of more than £150m.
Guardiola spent £165m on Stones, goalkeeper Claudio Bravo, forwards Gabriel Jesus, Leroy Sane and Nolito, and midfielder Ilkay Gundogan, while letting more than £100m of talent out on loan.
Teenage striker Rashford is the only local boy with a chance of being involved in what is expected to be the most expensive game ever played in terms of transfer fees.
Even without suspended City striker Sergio Aguero, the two starting line-ups could have an estimated cost in excess of £600m, eclipsing El Clasico of November 2015, where the players cost £591m.
Three of the five most expensive players bought by Premier League clubs – Pogba, Kevin de Bruyne and Raheem Sterling – will be on show at the Manchester Derby