Managers of the top European clubs have the most difficult job in the world. Besides winning, they have to please their board and the fans with their attractive brand of football. Very few managers overcome the constant pressure for results to succeed in the long run. We have seen the rise of Louis Van Gaal, Carlo Ancelotti, Fabio Capello, Jurgen Klinsmann and many more, but very few still continue to remain successful. However, Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola have cracked the code to rule the European world. The never ending debate of who is better among these two has taken interesting twist in recent years with both managing English clubs.
Let us find out who among the two coaches have had an illustrious career till now:
Style of play
The Portuguese tactician has often followed a defence-first approach, widely criticised by experts for his style of play. He often plays a 4-2-3-1 formation. The two pivots provide defensive cover for a deep lying back four. Mostly, the front four players are the only ones to have the liberty to attack, while the rest hold their fort. Full-backs and midfielders make occasional forward runs to provide attacking support.
Guardiola, on the other hand, plays an expansive brand of football. His ‘tiki-taka’ approach with Barcelona created a revolution, making other teams play positive brand of football. He often plays in a 4-3-3 formation and might switch it to 4-2-3-1 for a defensive look. The midfielders help the forwards and the full-backs contribute heavily to their attacking style. With a high-defensive line, Guardiola’s boys close the ball down with intense pressing while defending.
Both coaches have been extremely successful in their managerial career, winning a plethora of trophies. Mourinho has won the league title in every country he has managed. He has two Serie A titles with Inter Milan, one La Liga (Spain) and three English Premier League trophies and Primeira Liga (Portugal) twice with FC Porto. He won a UEFA Cup with the Portuguese giants and a Europa League with Manchester United. Notably, he has lifted two Champions League trophies with lesser-fancied sides – Inter Milan and FC Porto.
Guardiola started with a dream treble in his debut year as a first-team manager for Barcelona in 2008-09. He ended his 4-year Barcelona stint with 14 trophies. In general, he won three league titles in Spain, three in Germany and twice in England. He has also won the Champions League twice – same number of times as Mourinho. However, both his European triumphs were only with the all-conquering Barcelona side.
It is difficult to separate the two legends. While Mourinho has been in the game for too long, Guardiola, with lesser experience, has been hugely impressive so far. The Spaniard will undoubtedly pip the Portuguese in the style of play. However, Mourinho has been successful in a host of countries, winning both the domestic and European honours.
Mourinho has often built his teams from the scratch and has gone on to win multiple trophies against the odds – treble with Inter, Premier League titles with Chelsea and the Champions League with a less-fancied FC Porto. Whereas, Guardiola has only managed top European clubs, which offers huge financial backing in the transfer window – a luxury Mourinho has not always enjoyed. Only when they truly retire, it is fair to identify the winner of the debate. Till then let us hope for the same from these two legendary managers!