Sky Sports’ Rob Palmer believes it won’t be long before Jose Mourinho has a blow up on the touchline in a local derby.
After the Manchester derby in the EFL Cup players were seen congratulating each other and laughing and joking, but aren’t local rivals – especially the noisy neighbour type – meant to vehemently dislike each other?
Even the Head Coaches, Mourinho and Pep Guardiola, have taken to shaking hands and smiling at each other albeit through gritted teeth this season.
For two coaches that frequently locked horns in La Liga in matches that were, more often than not, unsavoury (see Mourinho’s Tito Villanova eye gouge), it leaves an air confusion. Calm before the storm maybe, or have they cooled it?
The La Liga commentator is under no such illusion: “There’ll be an explosion in Jose along the way. It’s not in Guardiola’s make up though.”
“That’s what got to Mourinho. He thought that Pep’s statesman like persona was an act and he didn’t like it.”
He added: “Everything he [Jose] does is so calculated.
“One of our guys went to do an interview with him last year and he had five or six issues to address, and Mourinho came back with a four minute answer and left no more time for anything else, completely deflected it. He’s a very clever man.”
Speaking about local derbies, Palmer reiterated a common point of view that derby games have lost a bit of fire on the pitch due to the lack of a local presence.
He explained: “They’ve evolved over the years. Back in the day most clubs would be made up of players who were from the local region.
“There would always be a bit of stick because you’d be playing against some one that you’d played against for Derby Boys or Nottingham Forest and you’d all of a sudden be on the other side of the A52 divide.
“If you look at clubs now there isn’t a local accent. Back when I played there’d be four or five local lads in the first team, but now it has to be explained to players.
“Amongst the fans the fire is still there, people work together.”
Of all of the Clasico matches that Palmer has commentated on – He’s lost count of how many – One stands out.
Luis Figo said that his return to the Camp Nou with Real Madrid in 2000 made him feel like he was “in the skin of a murderer.”
He wouldn’t have felt much better when he went back again in 2002.
He was greeted by a wall of noise and the hostilities went up a notch further when Figo went to take a corner and debris rained from the stands – Including the head of a pig.
“As you get to the Camp Nou, to get to the press area you have to go down a spiral stone staircase, you’re 80 metres below the ground and it’s silent.
“You get in a lift and go up eight floors and when you walked out – talk about hitting you in the face, it hit you so hard.
“When you look back at the pictures of that game and the pig’s head, it wasn’t young people throwing things, it was the old ones – the Socios who had been there since the 40s-50s, it was amazing.”