At the start of this transfer season, there have been three major signings. Title contenders Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea have all appointed new managers to lead their teams in the upcoming season. With United dominating last year under Alex Ferguson, can David Moyes keep the Red Devils flying high, or can Manuel Pellegrini and Jose Mourinho turn the tables for City and Chelsea, respectively?
David Moyes will have some rather large boots to fill after taking Sir Alex Ferguson’s place. At Everton, he demonstrated his ability to build a successful team with somewhat meager means, winning Manager of the Year in 2003, 2005 and 2009.
But can he deliver like his predecessor? Experienced manager Neil Warnock told Oliver Holt of the Mirror, "I think David will get a new lease of life from getting the United job. It will make him work harder than ever before. It will rekindle his determination and he will revel in the new job.”
Warnock continues to say that this determination, enthusiasm and desire will prove key to United’s future success, giving him the edge over his rivals.
However, this desire to succeed is certainly not lacking in either Pellegrini or Mourinho.
“The Special One” will be eager to please fans by delivering the same amount of success at Chelsea as he did in the past. This desire will no doubt be driven by his “failure” at Real Madrid. Although leading Madrid to a league and cup title, Mourinho ultimately left his club in disappointment for the first time in his managerial career.
It will be interesting to see if this will weigh negatively on him, or if it will drive him further. There is a general belief in the latter, that the experience at Madrid will see Mourinho unleashed like an attack dog, as Oliver Holt of the Mirror reports.
But as a player or manager, it’s always difficult to return to a club where you have already impressed. Mourinho will be living in his own shadow at Stamford Bridge, and even if he doesn’t care about upsetting other people, as stated by Arjen Robben, he certainly cares about letting himself down.
Although being backed by Pele, the Brazilian legend believes that Mourinho’s pedigree won’t be enough for the upcoming season. "He has to have a bit of luck because in football, sometimes the best doesn't work,” Pele said in an interview with CNN International.
Luck is something all three managers will certainly need.
Manchester City will be hoping Manuel Pellegrini will be able to deliver more success than he’s ever experienced before as a manager. Certainly he’s proven himself as a capable leader working with Villarreal, Real Madrid and Malaga. But is capable enough at City?
Neil Warnock believes Pellegrini, like Mourinho, will be under more pressure than Moyes. He told Oliver Holt at the Mirror, “The only way Pellegrini can succeed is by winning the Champions League and the Premier League.”
This seems like a lot to ask for someone who has never won a major title.
Ruud Van Nistelrooy, who played under Pellegrini at Madrid and Malaga, believes the Chilean manager is right for the job and that his experience means pressure will not be a problem in quotes given to ESPNFC.com.
Nistelrooy also says Pellegrini “proved at Villarreal and with Malaga that he can build a new team…He can create a structure and culture at the club whereby things get better.”
But will Pellegrini be able to reconstruct what Robert Mancini left behind in time to challenge Moyes and Mourinho? It’s unlikely City will have the same patience for him as they did for a manager like Mancini, who had already proven his capabilities at delivering trophies before making his move to England.
So the question remains: Can Mourinho and Pellegrini capitalize on United’s drastic transition with Ferguson stepping down and Moyes stepping up?
As the summer progresses, the answer will become clearer. With all three clubs eying big names like Cristiano Ronaldo, Robert Lewandowski, Edinson Cavani and Daniele De Rossi, the shift in power could very well come down to buying power and market savvy.
I believe that Moyes will cope well with the young United squad at his disposal. Having less expectation on his shoulders to achieve what Ferguson did before him will give him the space to operate to the best of his abilities. But transition from Ferguson’s dynasty might be more problematic than one can expect.
Pellegrini, meanwhile, will have to quickly demonstrate he has what it takes to see City challenge again for the title. Unfortunately, I don’t believe either he or his squad have developed the champion’s mentality needed to perform under the type of pressure they are under.
Ultimately, therefore, I must conclude that I believe Chelsea will look to be favorites for the upcoming season, shifting power in England back to London. The Mourinho Factor might just be enough to separate his side from that of his rivals.
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