Managing Manchester United And Manchester City Is Easy. Just Ask Mourinho Or Guardiola

Posted: September 25, 2016 in Arsenal, Chelsea, European Football, Manchester City, Manchester United, Opinion, Premier League
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Why is it that a new manager coming into a club can often achieve excellent results with exactly the same players who were responsible for the previous manager being fired?

On the flip side of that, why is it that a new manager coming into a club can often achieve nothing with the same players or even after adding a few of his own?

The answers to these questions are not as complicated as you might think.

Take José Mourinho for example. He has brought in four new players, the French one of whom was already known to most of the existing squad. The others are a Swede, an Ivorian and an Armenian. Now Mourinho might just be doing his bit for world harmony but the effect it has had on the players who were already at United has been very positive.

The same can be said for Pep Guardiola at Manchester City. He has only brought in two Germans, a Chilean and an Englishman, yet the effect on Manchester City has been even more positive than at United.

The vast majority of players at the two clubs are the ones left behind by the previous managers, who were both relieved of their duties in the nicest possible way, in the form of a large pay-off!

At the other end of the table David Moyes has taken over at Sunderland and, if anything, they are now worse than they were before. I appreciate that the sceptical ones amongst the readers of these chronicles will point out that both Manchester United and Real Sociedad were also worse when Moyes left than they were when he arrived so it does appear that he has developed a “King Midas in reverse” ability, to quote an old Hollies’ song.

So it would appear that it is all down to the man himself. Have the players at United and City suddenly become better since the arrivals of Mourinho and Guardiola? Of course not! In fact some, notably Wayne Rooney, have continued to decline. What has happened is that roles have been more clearly defined and both sets of players appear to be fully aware of what they need to do and where they need to be.

It was often said last season that United’s players were playing with fear. Too scared to take a risk that would have been second nature prior to the appointment of Louis van Gaal. There was also the problem that the Dutchman liked to play some of his players out of their natural position. This can only benefit the team if the players concerned are happy to do so and usually in an emergency situation.

At City, Pellegrini was accused of not being tactically aware. He would change to a back three in the middle of a game, completely confusing his own players and many onlookers. It was fine for him to know what he wanted but, if his players didn’t, it was never going to work.

So man management is, to a great extent, the key to success, along with tactical awareness and knowing your own players. The ability to change the team to suit the game is also important. Great managers have these abilities and can implement them at a new club almost immediately.

Not so great managers tend to fail without ever understanding why. That is their problem. Failure to understand failure will result in further failure.

Without being privy to any confidential information I can almost certainly guarantee that David Moyes is doing exactly the same at Sunderland as he did at Manchester United and Real Sociedad. Why? He is asking for the sack and he will get it fairly soon if he doesn’t change his mentality.

Albert Einstein defined “insanity” as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” That, I am fairly confident, is what David Moyes, and some others, are doing right now.

The only time to continue doing the same things is when they work. Pep Guardiola obviously has some tried and trusted methods, as does José Mourinho. The difference is that when they come up against something different, something for which they don’t have a method, then they improvise, before coming up with a solution, and they do it with great success.

Arsène Wenger is another one being accused of hanging around too long and being stuck in his ways. This is probably true and would go a long way to explaining Arsenal’s lack of success over the last few years. The problem is, however, that a new manager doesn’t guarantee success and Wenger may be the best bet at present. If somebody such as Diego Simeone could be brought in then the change would be worth making.

So the top managers get the top jobs because they are better technicians, they are better at man-management and they can recognise how to solve a problem very quickly. This naturally makes them the most successful managers and, because of the special requirements, means that there aren’t many of them around, as Chelsea may be finding out.

  1. Bernard says:

    Love your stuff Iain


  2. RedMe says:

    They just are better managers, no secret there. For the owners of Arsenal finishing in the top 4 is good enough,it makes them money and Arsene don’t spend. Simeone would be a nice addition to the EPL .


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