Manchester city manager Pep Guardiola is too much of a realist and a thinker to express any delight at the demise of his erstwhile arch-enemy and would-be nemesis Jose Mourinho at Manchester United.
But as Manchester City reached the semi-finals of the League Cup, Mourinho was packing his bags at the Lowry, the second leg of his clash with the Catalan ending, like the first, in defeat.
It hasn’t even been a contest, despite the bold words of one Mourinho aficionado, who claimed that the Portugeezer had “tactically and mentally bested” Guardiola in Spain.
The stats revealed that was otherwise, and the implication was that United had brought in Mourinho as the only manager capable of combating Guardiola.
But here we are, 30 months later and United are a bedraggled, battered and disunited outfit while City are ready to step up their defence of the Premier League title, are in a cup semi-final and favourites to win the Champions League.
The Blues rubbed salt into Red raw wounds by reaching the Carabao Cup semi-finals – helped by three teenagers and a heroic 20-year-old goalkeeper.
Mourinho had made capital of the fact that HE was not the “monster” who eats the kids, and was proud of his record of giving youth a chance, the implication being that Guardiola was that creature.
But the sight of Phil Foden taking David Silva’s responsibilities on his slim shoulders, of Brahim Diaz giving veteran right back Danny Simpson nightmares, and of 17-year-old Eric Garcia looking every inch like a fresh-faced Franco Baresi on his debut, even that boast was made shallow.