Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola and Manchester United striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic are not enemies, according to Jose Mourinho, despite their history at Barcelona.
On Saturday, Ibrahimovic will have a chance to go up against Guardiola when their clubs meet in the Manchester derby at Old Trafford.
The Swede fell out with Guardiola while they worked together at Barcelona but the 34-year-old has no grudge to hold against the Catalan according to his new manager.
“I never read Zlatan saying Guardiola is a bad manager,” Mourinho said. “It is normal between managers and players you have more connections with some than others.
“But that doesn’t mean you hate each other. I read something that Eden is in love with Antonio [Conte] and was not in love with me. But he’s not my enemy — it’s feeling, that’s fine, it’s his feeling.
“I’m fine. I’m happy for him. So Zlatan didn’t have the best period of his career [at Barcelona] but that’s fine.
“They are not enemies, we are not expecting Zlatan to score a goal, run to Pep, sliding on his knees; that’s not going to happen.”
For his part, Guardiola claims he was always honest with Ibrahimovic and spoke to the player about their issues, while the Swede used his autobiography to fire his criticism.
“He explained in his book about what he believes,” Guardiola told reporters. “But always I was clear. I spoke with him always face-to-face, always.
“I never used the media to explain what I wanted from Zlatan on the pitch, never. The people can say many, many things, but I was so clear and direct to him.”