Owen Hargreaves believes Manchester United were spooked into handing Jose Mourinho a three-year contract at Old Trafford last month.
Louis van Gaal won the club their first piece of silverware since the 2012/13 season with the FA Cup but he failed to secure Champions League football after finishing in fifth place and was relieved of his duties having spent two years at the club.
Mourinho was announced as the club’s manager four days later but Hargreaves insists Ed Woodward was forced into making a decision after seeing Manchester City wrap up the signing of Pep Guardiola from Bayern Munich.
“Mourinho is at Manchester United because Pep is at City,” said the former United and England midfielder,” he said.
“United were not completely thrilled about signing him even a few months ago. But Guardiola’s arrival at City spooked them.”
Mourinho will face Guardiola’s City at the end of Euro 2016 as United travel to China for their pre-season tour on July 25, three days after meeting Borussia Dortmund in Shanghai.
His first set of Premier League fixtures as United boss include an away trip to Bournemouth on the opening day of the season, followed by Southampton at home and Hull City away before facing Guardiola on September 10th.
There is plenty of history behind their infamous rivalry but Manchester Derby has just become even more intense as both teams now have a point to prove as they look to challenge for the title.