Guardiola And Mourinho Are The Angel And The Demon At Manchester City And Manchester United. But Which Is Now Which?

Posted: February 21, 2017 in Chelsea, European Football, Football, Jose Mourinho, Managers, Manchester City, Manchester United, Opinion, Pep Guardiola, Premier League
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José Mourinho is not known as a nice guy. He has fallen out with owners and club presidents, he has fallen out with players and fellow managers. He has fallen out with physiotherapists and club doctors. There are probably not many positions within the world of professional football with whom the Special One has not fallen out at one time or another!

He is, however, finding out that he has a nice side now that he is manager of Manchester United. He hasn’t turned into a serial smiler just yet, but there are signs that his disposition is somewhat mellower than it used to be.

He is complaining slightly less, he is abusing the likes of Arsene Wenger and Rafa Benitez slightly less although, due to Rafa currently plying his trade in the Championship, he has had to make do with turning his attention to Jürgen Klopp as a replacement punchbag, a situation which should only be temporary as Benitez, barring a total breakdown in relations between him and Mike Ashley, will return to the Premier League next season.

Mourinho has had a dig at one or two of his players, but he has done it almost politely and in such a way that the players in question should take it as a challenge to improve their performance.

He has been polite about the opposition, particularly after games he has won, and he has been complimentary about the opposition on a couple of occasions, a fact which was unheard of not too long ago. He used to either have excuses ready as to why he lost, or he wouldn’t talk to anybody!

This is all a sign that he is getting older and maturing, not only as a manager, but also as a person. He has had to come to terms with the fact that his wife and children have lives of their own in London and will not, at present anyway, be moving to Manchester with him. This must have been a slight blow to his ego which always suggested to others that he expected people to follow him wherever he chose to lead them, not that they would pack him off to Manchester to lead a solitary life in a hotel room.

He has had time to think and appears to have decided on a course with less confrontation and animosity. He has changed even in the few short months since joining United and is not the same person who went on the pre-season tour with the team. This “better” José Mourinho seems to have gradually improved the team and has them all pulling in the same direction, a complete opposite of his last few weeks with Chelsea!

The proof of the pudding will be in how many trophies the club has at the end of the season.

Pep Guardiola was a nice guy. He fell out with players occasionally but hey, which manager doesn’t? These fallouts were usually kept in-house and the press would never find out about them.

His arrival at Manchester City was swiftly followed by the removal of fan’s favourite Joe Hart, sent out on loan to Torino. Then the dropping of fan’s favourite Sergio Agüero, who was quickly re-instated before being dropped again when Gabriel Jesus arrived. Patience, however, has been shown with Vincent Kompany, the injury-prone captain, but we get the feeling that that patience is wearing a little thin now.

It was almost as though Pep wanted to get the unpopular stuff out of the way while his own popularity was still high. Anyway, nobody is putting up much of an argument at present as the team lie second in the Premier League, are through to the knockout stage of the Champion’s League and are still in the FA Cup.

So Guardiola appears to have done the opposite to Mourinho. He has gone from good guy to bad guy. Not bad in the same way as Mourinho was. Pep always seems to be polite, never abuses other managers or staff and never has a bad word to say about his players. He has developed a bit of a mean streak though and this is certainly needed if he is to be a success in England.

The two managers have changed, albeit slightly, since they arrived at their present clubs. They have changed in such a way that the bad spells both were enduring in the not too distant past seem to be over and both are experiencing an uplift in form.

It is this ability to change to suit the circumstances that will make these coaches two of the most successful in the history of football in Manchester, providing they both stick around long enough!


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