Arjen Robben expects a fascinating duel between Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola in next season’s Premier League, but says the Manchester derby will be about more than the two managers.
Mourinho succeeded Louis van Gaal at Old Trafford and immediately set about constructing a side capable of challenging for a 21st top-flight title, securing the signings of Eric Bailly, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Henrikh Mkhitaryan.
City, meanwhile, placed former Bayern Munich and Barcelona boss Guardiola in charge at the expense of Manuel Pellegrini, as they aim to marry domestic trophies with a push for a maiden Champions League crown.
Robben, who has played under both men during his career, is relishing the battle between the two in 2016-17.
“They are both big coaches,” he told Goal.com. “I worked with each of them for three years. They are top professionals and they will bring their own style of play and mentality to the team. I’m convinced of that.
“It will be interesting to follow. But it’s not only about Pep vs Mou, but also about the players on the pitch in the end. But I’m sure you will notice their handwriting.”
Robben won two Premier League titles under Mourinho at Chelsea before enjoying domestic dominance in Germany with Bayern, where he has claimed four Bundesliga titles in a row – three of which came during Guardiola’s time at the club.
But the Netherlands international refused to say with which of the two coaches he preferred to work.
“No, I cannot say that,” said the 32-year-old. “They were two completely different periods in my career.
“When I worked with Mourinho I was still young and it was my first club abroad. With Pep, I was already older and it was different. Both have been interesting and suited me in my career.”