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Man City and Man United’s near-identical pre-season tours have revealed stark differences

Despite embarking on near-identical pre-season tours Man United and Man City fans will be feeling very different heading into the new campaign

Pre-season is an expensive business.

Long gone are the days of pitching up in La Manga, locating the nearest Irish bar and finding time to squeeze in three games against the local amateur sides for good luck.

Take Man City and Man Untied, for example.

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Both sides are warming up for their respective Premier League campaigns by taking part in the 2018 International Champions Cup.

The competition features 18 of Europe’s biggest sides competing for the one trophy footballers grow up dreaming about.

Don’t worry, we didn’t realise there was actual silverware up for grabs either until we looked on Wikipedia five minutes ago.

Pre-season is about getting your fitness back and fostering a healthy workplace atmosphere. Which is why Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho’s approaches have been so intriguing.

Touch your nose if you hate pre-season

Getty - Contributor
Touch your nose if you hate pre-season

Mourinho hasn’t yet perfected the art of the poker face. There’s more subtlety in Donald Trump’s tweets then there is in Mourinho’s post-match press conferences.

When talking about the 4-1 defeat at the hands of Liverpool he said: “We are here just to survive and to have some not very ugly results.”

Hardly what you want to hear from your leader.

When Anthony Martial had the cheek to fly home to attend the birth of his baby Mourinho said: “He should be here and he’s not here.

‘Keep heading that way and you’ll find Southampton’

Getty - Contributor
‘Keep heading that way and you’ll find Southampton’

Most worryingly, when talking about Alexis Sanchez, Mourinho moaned: “Look, do you want him to be very happy with the players he has around him?”

The players Sanchez had ‘around him’ included new signing Fred, highly rated youngster Tahith Chong and four team-mates who’ll be competing for first-team places next season.

Not a first-choice XI by any means, but hardly Salford City.

Now let’s look at Guardiola’s comments after City finished their three ICC games.

Pep said: “You cannot imagine how much I have enjoyed these two weeks with these guys.

“The young guys have desire. They open their eyes and listen because they have their whole career ahead of them.

“I want to say thank you to them.”

Touch your beard if you love pre-season

AP:Associated Press
Touch your beard if you love pre-season

Like United, City’s plans have been rudely interrupted by the World Cup.

Club-record signing Riyad Mahrez lasted just 28 minutes of the 3-2 win against Bayern Munich before being forced off with a potentially serious injury while Aymeric Laporte was the only other starter likely to feature regularly this season.

Pep had reason to be grumpy.

Two of the three games had ended in defeat, a record United will match if they lose to Real Madrid in their last ICC fixture.

Both clubs have failed to make the signings they wanted, with City still searching for a centre-midfielder after losing out on Jorginho to Chelsea and United looking for defensive reinforcements.

But it’s about perspective.

Sure, City have better foundations on which to build upon, having won the Premier League last season.

However United signed Romelu Lukaku, Nemanja Matic and Alexis Sanchez last season, and Paul Pogba, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Zlatan Ibrahimovic the campaign before, so Mourinho can’t be too harsh on Ed Woodward when it comes to recruitment.

Smile for the camera

Getty - Contributor
Smile for the camera

It’s difficult to see the benefits of Mourinho’s siege mentality.

It’s not like the days of Sir Alex Ferguson, when there was very much a United against the world ideology in place.

Now it’s Mourinho against anyone who breathes. It will be something of a miracle if Mourinho breaks the third-season syndrome that has followed him throughout his managerial career.

As for Pep, a man who’s never lasted more than four years at a club, the future’s bright. But it’s a long season.

Who’s to say Wolves won’t have wrapped up the title by January?

Who would you rather be?

Who would you rather be?

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