Mourinho comes over all Mr Nice Guy, while Pep faces his annual angst

That a football coach is managing to refrain from physically assaulting members of the opposition technical team, insulting rival coaches or being rude about their own players, bosses and various institutional organisations is something that should be roundly applauded.

That’s the straw AS are grasping at, as the paper joins the rest of the Spanish football media in crawling on their hands and knees towards the end of  another barren international fortnight.

Either through desperation or a sense of duty, Tuesday’s edition of AS leads with the story that José Mourinho has managed to behave himself for eight whole days - the last ‘incident’ being his praising of Real Madrid’s ultras and insulting of the rest of the club's fans over their lack of support for the team - thus signaling a change in attitude.

Indeed, ever since nearly poking out Tito Vilanueva’s eye during the Spanish Super Cup clashes, AS has been impressed by Mourinho’s restraint which has seen the Portuguese trainer mostly polite about opposition teams and their coaches. “Mourinho has changed” declares the paper’s front page. “He’s burying the bad guy and now only the great manager that he is can be seen,” declares Alfredo Relaño, tempting a huge amount of fate considering matches against Valencia, Atlético Madrid and Barcelona are all around the corner, all with plenty of opportunity for Mourinho mischief.

Jose cracks his biggest smile for the cameras...

Managers have also been the obsession in Cataluyna of late, with the annual speculation on whether Pep Guardiola will be renewing his contract with the Dream Boys. The Barça boss quite sensibly seems to prefer to go through the process on a year-by-year basis, with the decision dependent on his sanity and hairline at the time.

Mundo Deportivo claim Pep is to make up his mind in January, although Sandro Rosell has revealed that the issue could be resolved straight away. “Pep knows the contract he wants is on the table to be signed when he wants.” LLL hopes that it isn’t chucked away by the cleaners for recycling in the meantime.

That news certainly doesn’t stop Lluís Mascaró of Sport from losing sleep at night as the writer tosses and turns on the thorny issue. “The problem is not so much the uncertainty that this attitude generates but the chaos it will cause on the day he says he’s off. There’s no alternative to Pep. No-one is prepared for a future without Guardiola.”

Neymar’s decision to stay at Santos until 2014 is still causing some ripples in the water, with Mundo Deportivo claiming Rosell has already sealed a deal for the young Brazilian to join Barcelona after the next World Cup. That theory certainly seems more plausible, with Santos president Luis Alvaro de Oliveira blasting Florentino Pérez for having “an arrogant attitude, that of a colonizer’s mentality.”

Even Marca have been forced to acknowledge the fact a Pérez target has been missed, with a story claiming that there’s nothing to worry about, with plenty of other young footballing fish in the sea being monitored by beady-eyed Madrid scouts. The names of Iker Muniain, Rafinha, Hazard, Wilshere and Götze are mentioned - all fine players in their own right, but not a certain crest-sporting Brazilian that has escaped Florentino’s clutches, possibly forever.

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