Man Utd manager Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola are set to face each other for the first time in a Manchester derby on Saturday.
Jose Mourinho will know what to expect when his Manchester United team line up against Manchester City at Old Trafford on Saturday.
A touchline rivalry with Pep Guardiola that began in Milan seven years ago will get its latest instalment in Manchester this weekend.
Mourinho has faced a team managed by Guardiola 16 times, winning three, losing eight and drawing five. They know each far better than either would care to admit.
Guardiola is new to the Premier League but his broad tactical approach is not a secret.
"What I want, my desire, is to have 100 per cent possession,” he said last year.
So far this season, his City team have averaged 62 per cent in wins over Sunderland, Stoke and West Ham.
Mourinho has met Guardiola as manager of Inter Milan and Real Madrid.
They will look to dominate the ball again at Old Trafford with the full-backs Bacary Sagna and Gael Clichy pushing into midfield to increase the numbers.
Mourinho, though, will tell you it does not matter.
His Chelsea team beat Louis van Gaal’s United 1-0 at Stamford Bridge in April 2015 despite having just 29 per cent of the ball. It was not a fluke.
“We prepared for this,” he said afterwards.
“We opened the door for the game to be like this so the game was exactly the game we wanted.” The result was, too.
That day, Chelsea were compact and countered quickly. It is something Guardiola’s teams have, occasionally, struggled with.
It was Mourinho’s key tactic when Inter Milan beat Barcelona over two legs on their way to lifting the Champions League trophy in 2010.
Carlo Ancelotti exploited the same weakness when Real Madrid beat Bayern Munich 5-0 on aggregate in the Champions League semi-final in 2014. Atletico Madrid did the same last season, eventually winning their Champions League semi-final on away goals.
It could affect Mourinho’s team selection.
Juan Mata has started the first three games of the season. But against Bournemouth, Southampton and Hull, the Portuguese coach will have expected to have the lion’s share of the ball.
Mata’s eye for invention – a neat touch or a clever pass – is suited to games against teams who are happy to defend.
But the pace and running of Anthony Martial on one side, and Henrikh Mkhitaryan or Marcus Rashford, even Jesse Lingard, on the other is ideal for manager looking to counter attack quickly.
Mkhitaryan and Lingard are both injury doubts. Rashford, meanwhile, should be full of confidence after his stoppage time goal at Hull and a hat-trick on his England Under-21 debut against Norway on Tuesday.
Mourinho could pick both Rashford and Mkhitaryan, but that would mean dropping Wayne Rooney.
And as indifferent as Rooney’s performances have been this season, he has been heavily involved in the key moments – a goal against Bournemouth, the cross for Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s opener against Southampton and for Rashford’s winner at Hull.
It will be enough to keep the 30-year-old – the top scorer in Manchester derbies – in the team. At least for now.
There are other decisions for Mourinho to make as he plots a way to resume his battle with Guardiola with a win in his first Manchester derby. At the very least, he should know what is coming.