What Manchester United Need To Do To Compete With Manchester City

Posted: February 15, 2018 in Arsenal, Chelsea, Football, Manchester City, Manchester United, Opinion, Premier League, Tottenham Hotspur
Tags: , , , ,


José Mourinho is a winner. He hates losing almost as much as Pep Guardiola likes winning. His big problem is that, this season, it would appear that Guardiola is going to win more than his Portuguese counterpart.

There is a very slight chance that United will win the Champion’s League and the FA Cup but it is highly unlikely and there is a far greater chance that City will win the Carabao Cup and the Premier League, particularly as they are so far ahead in one that they have disappeared from view of the chasing pack, and they are in the final of the other with only Stubborn Old Man’s Arsenal standing between them and the first trophy of Pep’s City career.

City are among the favourites for the Champion’s League and the FA Cup as well so the season could be spectacular!

So what has gone wrong at Old Trafford? Well, nothing much. In fact, in a “normal” season United’s current points tally would be enough to see them hold a narrow lead at the top or be very close to the leaders in second place.


Bristol City – Beat United before losing to City

Defeat to Bristol City in the Carabao Cup quarter final was the only major disappointment so far, but there have been other games where the team has failed to play to anywhere near it’s potential.

The problem has been José Mourinho’s determination not to lose which, at times, has over-ridden his desire to win.

Many games which should have yielded three points have only yielded one and others, where a draw should have been the least to expect, have yielded none!

Our question is a simple one? What is wrong with copying success? We do it all the time. We see particularly good pieces of writing and unashamedly copy the style if it can be adapted to our narrative. We would never copy articles or headlines verbatim but we have no problem with using other writing ideas to our own end.

Now using a similar logic, Manchester City are sixteen points ahead at the top of the Premier League. Pep Guardiola is being hailed as a tactical genius, the new messiah and a coaching god for having his team play football the way it was always intended to be played.


For anybody not aware of the rules

The clue is in the name of the sport, “FOOTball” not “kick the ball as high as possible”, or “headball”.

Guardiola’s City team is full of, mainly, small or medium height players who keep the ball on the ground. Because they are small and fast they are also very good at retaining the ball. They tend to pass it to each other and are famous for playing out from the back. Even his central defenders are selected for their ball-playing ability as much as their height at set-pieces!

This is another tactic which appears to be alien to the likes of José Mourinho, Antonio Conte and Arséne Wenger to name but three. They seem to prefer their goalkeeper or defender to lump the ball upfield straight into the waiting arms of the opposition goalkeeper or straight to an opposing defender.

We lose count, when watching United, of how many times they needlessly give the ball away through their desire to clear it. There are passages of play that would never be seen if it were City involved.

United, for example, will string together seven or eight passes while actually going nowhere. The final pass will be back to one of the defenders or the goalkeeper who will then launch the ball straight back to the opposition.

All they have achieved is to waste a bit of time and, given that they are not playing particularly well at present, it is usually their own time they are wasting!

Alexis Sánchez – Mourinho should build the team around him

Mourinho likes tall, powerful players and the purchase of Alexis Sánchez was actually a move away from this stereotype. He could, however, do worse than build the team around the Chilean.

The bottom line is that United need to take a leaf out of City’s book if they are to achieve major success.

Possession football and fast players is the way things need to be and it has hardly been a closely guarded secret. Guardiola was doing this at Barcelona years ago and still nobody else caught on!

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery” is one saying that is applicable in these circumstances. Another one is “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. Well we would suggest that every team below City in the top six is, in some way, broken.

Wouldn’t it make sense to follow the Manchester City repair manual when fixing the problems?

It would certainly make for a more competitive Premier League.


  1. Brazil played Samba or dribbling football. They used it win trophies. But today, football has changed from dribbling. That pattern of football is only being used by few coaches in this era of football and it can only achieve little success. Even the so-called Brazil that are famously known with that pattern are no longer using it. The reason is because football has changed and upgraded. Later, Jose Mourinho introduced defensive minded football tactics. Using it with Porto and Intermilan, he was successful. Later, possession [tiki-taka] and attacking football was introduced into football as a game. This system is more in entertaining and winning of games and trophies in contrast to the defensive method. In this era football, the defensive minded football tactics is becoming outdated due to its deficiency in producing good result. Pep Guardiola is a genius when using this method. When he uses it against Mourinho’s defensive system, it is more efficient, entertaining, scoring of goals and superior to Jose Mourho’s method. This is why Pep Guardiola always excel more than Jose. Jose Mourinho’s defensive tactics hardly prove successful in bigger games. For instance, he used it with Chelsea against Bayern Munich in UEFA super cup final. Chelsea end up defending against Bayern Munich before the final whistle was blown. And they end up losing that match. Mourinho used it with Real Madrid against Pep Barca in the champions league and Real Madrid were eliminated from the Champions league. The fact is that Intermilan and Porto fc used the defensive tactics to the win the champions league as at then when the possession and attacking football was taking its shape. And most of the bigger clubs in Europe except Barcelona didn’t involved in playing possession-attacking football. And Mourinho was successful with his method. But Mourinho’s defensive method cannot be used to conquer Europe and the world-over anymore especially when he uses it against bigger opposition or opponents especially now that majority of the high profile coaches and clubs in Europe are now copying this possessing-attacking football. Remember that clubs and countries started to play dribbling or Samba football, then to defensive football. Nowadays, football has been upgraded from dribbling and defending football to possessions attacking football. Mourinho should change his tactics from defensive minded football to possession and attacking football. Or else, Jose Mourinho will always find himself under the shadow of Pep Guardiola. Jose Mourinho is a proud loser.


  2. […] So we won’t bother going over it all again. If anybody, including the aforementioned managers, missed our masterclasses on the subject of how to beat Pep, then here is one of them. […]


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