Sunday, September 23, 2018

Can Jose Mourinho get the better of Pep Guardiola?

David Nugent in Editorial, English Premier League 25 Jan 2018

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Jose Mourinho has signed a contract extension with Manchester United. The Portuguese boss’ new contract expires in 2020, with the option of a further year.

The majority of United fans will celebrate the former Chelsea extending his deal at Old Trafford. He has improved the Red Devils squad in his tenure at the club, albeit by spending big on the likes of Romelu Lukaku and Paul Pogba.

Despite United’s improvement in recent seasons, they still trail arch-rivals Manchester City by 12 points in the race for the Premier League title. Well, when I say race, it is more like a procession now, City have been that good this season. The man responsible for City’s strong performance this season is boss Pep Guardiola.

Mourinho needs to beat Pep Guardiola

Mourinho’s main objective when he took over will have been to restore United to the top of the English football tree. The Red Devils once dominated the English top-flight under the indomitable Sir Alex Ferguson.

The legendary Scot’s successor could not quite continue his good work and United slipped out of contention even for the Champions League. However, Mourinho has restored the Red Devils to the status of contenders.

Unfortunately, for United and Mourinho, Manchester City and Guardiola have simply been in a different league this season. There is no secret that there is no love lost between the two top bosses.

The pair’s rivalry goes back their contests in the Champions League but heated up in their time together in Spain. As Real Madrid boss Jose Mourinho guided Los Blancos to a title victory over Guardiola in his final season as Barcelona boss. The Portuguese boss is one of the few bosses, who have managed to get under the Catalan bosses skin.

Guardiola winning the battle this season

Guardiola guided City to third place in the Premier League last season. Meanwhile Mourinho’s United finished sixth place, but won the Europa League. Neither side’s league campaign was a success, though, as the two Manchester giants were seen as title contenders.

This season Pep Guardiola is winning the battle in the Premier League this season. For all of Mourinho’s moaning about City’s spending, the Citizens are top of the table because they have been the best team in the league. City also recorded a 2-1 win at Old Trafford in the league.

Both teams are still in the Champions League, with City one of the favourites to win the trophy at odds of 10/3. Mourinho’s experience of winning the competition, United cannot be ruled out of going deep into the competition.

The Champions League could still see Mourinho claim a victory over his old adversary. However, that depends on both teams progressing from the last-16.

Mourinho has a chance of over-throwing Guardiola

No doubt, Manchester City will continue to improve and strengthen their team in the next few seasons. The Citizens have the spending power and players to dominate the domestic and European game for years to come.

Jose Mourinho is a very different character to Guardiola. However, if anybody can halt City’s dominance next season, then it is the United boss. The Portuguese boss will be backed by the Red Devils hierarchy in the transfer market next summer, maybe not to the same extreme as his City counterpart. However, Mourinho will not be shopping in the bargain basement either.

Mourinho has received criticism for his style of play and controversial behaviour at times during his managerial career. However, one thing that is indisputable is that he is a winner and has brought success to whatever club he manages.

The signs are that Mourinho will continue that winning habit at Old Trafford. Whether he can stop Manchester City and Guardiola only time will tell.

Can Jose Mourinho get the better of Pep Guardiola?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David Nugent


David is a freelance football writer with nearly a decade of experience writing about the beautiful game. The experienced writer has written for over a dozen websites and also an international soccer magazine offline.
Arguably his best work has come as an editorial writer for Soccernews, sharing his good, bad and ugly opinions on the world’s favourite sport. During David’s writing career he has written editorials, betting previews, match previews, banter, news and opinion pieces.

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