The former Monaco playmaker insists he still wants to beat his Portuguese compatriot but has respect for what he has achieved in the game
Manchester City midfielder Bernardo Silva made no secret of his “great admiration” for Jose Mourinho despite him being in charge of bitter rivals Manchester United.
Portugal international Silva joined City for a reported £43 million after impressing for Monaco last season, helping them to the Ligue 1 title and the Champions League semi-finals.
By moving to the Etihad Stadium he has become a direct rival of Mourinho, who is attempting to make United a challenger to City in the race to win the Premier League.
Despite that, Silva was happy to lavish Mourinho with praise.
“Jose Mourinho is a coach who says a lot about Portuguese football, which gives a fantastic dimension to our football,” he told A Bola.
“He’s a person I respect a lot. I met him relatively recently at the airport, we greeted each other and talked for a while.
“He is a rival, obviously, and I want to beat him, but he is a person I respect a lot and for whom I have great admiration for everything he has achieved in football.”
Silva also backed under-fire United centre-back Victor Lindelof, whom he played alongside for a time at Benfica.
The Sweden international has endured a difficult transition at Old Trafford and was criticised for his role in last weekend’s 2-1 defeat at Huddersfield Town, but Silva expects him to ride it out.
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Silva said: “I know Lindelof well because I was with him in my second year of juniors and in the B team of Benfica. He’s a friend.
“Victor is a player with a lot of quality, who likes to have the ball. In the most defensive positions here in England, the adaptation takes longer because it is a very aggressive and tough football.
“I hope things go well for him because he’s a great player and a person I admire a lot.”