Mourinho appeared to avoid questions involving Pep Guardiola and went as far as calling him a very good manager.
The pair worked together at Barcelona, but where on opposite sides when the Portuguese was at Madrid and Guardiola with Barca.
And now they’ll be at opposite sides when Manchester United face Manchester City tomorrow in the first Manchester derby.
Asked what problem Guardiola’s side present Mourinho with compared to other teams, the Portuguese responded: “Players.”
He elaborated, saying: “They are a very good team. They were a very good team last season, two seasons ago, three seasons ago, four seasons ago, perhaps since the new owners arrived at Manchester City.
“They have a very good squad, they have a very good manager.
“They are a title contender and we have to respect them.”
On the pressure of playing in a derby, he added: “I am normal. For us, it is a game and for me especially. We are playing to try and win the title. When you do this there is no match more important than another one when it comes to this stage of the season.
“I know what a derby means for everyone; I’ve played derbies everywhere, in every country, in so many cities. I always want to be in the position of emotional control because for me it is just a game against a very good opponent.
“If you want to be successful and you want to win the game then we have to be at the top of our qualities.”