Pep Guardiola would win the Premier League with the current Manchester United squad according to the former Liverpool and England defender Jamie Carragher, who believes Jose Mourinho’s complaints about a lack of resources at Old Trafford should not be allowed to pass muster.
Guardiola’s Manchester City head into the final round of Premier League fixtures in 2017 with a 15-point lead over second-placed United at the summit, having won a staggering 19 of their 20 top-flight games.
While Chelsea boss and reigning champion Antonio Conte has chosen to credit City for “doing an extraordinary thing”, Mourinho’s response to the current situation has become increasingly tempestuous.
Before a 2-1 defeat in the Manchester derby earlier this month, he accused City’s players of diving and persistent tactical fouling, while in the aftermath of the 2-2 Boxing Day draw with Burnley, the Portuguese claimed the near £300million spend at Old Trafford since his appointment was not enough to compete with Guardiola and his team across town.
In a column for the Daily Telegraph, Carragher argued City are in a stronger position because of Guardiola’s talent for developing the talent at his disposal and claimed many observers would have plumped for United as having the stronger squad at the start of this season.
“There is a flaw in Jose Mourinho’s argument that the difference between Manchester United and Manchester City is money,” he wrote.
“If Pep Guardiola was in charge of the United squad I believe they would win the title.
9 – Jose Mourinho has lost more matches in all competitions against Pep Guardiola than versus any other manager. Foe. pic.twitter.com/jMleQQnIL6
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 10, 2017
“Rewind to the start of this season and assess the head-to-head qualities of the United and City squads. Player-for-player, which would you argue was superior?
“Was Ederson considered better than David De Gea? Were City’s centre-backs Nicolas Otamendi and John Stones preferable to Eric Bailly and Phil Jones? Did United fans want Fernandinho or Nemanja Matic?
“United broke the world transfer record to sign Paul Pogba, and then made Romelu Lukaku the most expensive Premier League player of last summer. Which English clubs made bigger statements of intent?
“How many United or England fans would have swapped Marcus Rashford for Raheem Sterling a year ago? And when Anthony Martial first arrived from Monaco, was his reputation greater than that of Leroy Sane when he joined City?
“Although he was signed before Mourinho’s appointment, Luke Shaw was a £30million full-back – more expensive than City striker Gabriel Jesus. The United manager’s complaints about the value of the squads do not add up.”
Carragher acknowledged Mourinho’s success in winning the EFL Cup and Europa League during his first season at Old Trafford last term but feels he is lagging behind Guardiola when it comes to helping players to reach their potential.
He cited the example of Kevin De Bruyne – the Belgium midfielder who was sold by Mourinho during his time in charge of Chelsea and has been City’s star performer on their record-breaking winning run.
“City are ahead this season because Guardiola has developed players rather than expected ready-made talent to instantly deliver,” Carragher added.
“Mourinho has increasingly come to rely on more experienced, established performers. If you want to evolve a club or a team, you don’t call Mourinho.
“It is hard to believe Guardiola would have managed De Bruyne on a daily basis at a young age and not seen what he might become.”
United host Stoke City on Saturday, granting them a chance to at least temporarily close the gap on City, who travel to Crystal Palace on Sunday.
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