Building a Perfect Manager from the Attributes of Mourinho, Ferguson, Wenger Etc

Mark Jones@@Mark_Jones86Featured ColumnistFebruary 26, 2014

Building a Perfect Manager from the Attributes of Mourinho, Ferguson, Wenger Etc

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    What if you could build a perfect football manager?

    The closest you could get to perfection would probably be if you could apply a few cheats to a football management simulation computer game, because in real life this is a profession that rarely runs smoothly.

    Managers are the men largely held responsible when tactics fail or new signings struggle to impress and ultimately they need to display a variety of qualities to last in their jobs.

    Sir Alex Ferguson managed to do that over 27 years at Manchester United, a remarkable achievement that is unlikely to be matched any time soon.

    So what if we took Ferguson's best qualities and matched them together with some of the bosses still in work to create one all-powerful super manager?

    Looking at eight of the key ingredients that make good managers, here are the bosses whose brains we're going to pick: 

Self-Belief: Arsene Wenger

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    Sticking to your guns when all around you are questioning your credentials is a key element of the great managers and no-one encapsulates that more right now that the Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger.

    The Frenchman has overseen a successful season for the Gunners, who are riding high in the Premier League and are also in the FA Cup quarter-finals―with the 2-0 Champions League defeat to Bayern Munich last week making it extremely unlikely that they'll reach the same round of that competition.

    That being said, this still has to be regarded as a strong season for both manager and club.

    Not for the first time in his 17-and-a-half-year Arsenal tenure, Wenger found himself at the centre of some very awkward questions in the summer as plenty, both inside and outside of Arsenal, questioned the Gunners' ambition.

    A 3-1 home loss to Aston Villa on the opening day of the Premier League season seemed to bring matters to a head, but Wenger and the Gunners have never really looked back since then, with the Frenchman refusing to compromise his football principles by splashing the cash in the January transfer window―having done so on Mesut Ozil in the previous one.

    The Frenchman knows he has to believe in himself because there are plenty out there who will be ready with criticism of him when things go wrong, and to do that for so long at such a high level simply demands admiration.

Status: Sir Alex Ferguson

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    This isn't just about the knighthood, Sir Alex Ferguson's achievements in the game meant that he carried an air about him that people were often intimidated by.

    That intimidation manifested itself in several ways.

    Referees weren't "biased" in favour of Ferguson's United in the manner that fans of many annoyed rivals suggested they were over the years, but if the status of Ferguson on the touchline could help swing one or two decisions in his team's favour then the Scot would make sure that he could be seen.

    Opposition players could also become intimidated by playing Ferguson's side, giving his players a little extra respect than perhaps was deserving. Those same United players' underachievement under David Moyes this season perhaps bears this out.

    Ferguson's status within the game was, and still remains, so large that it was impossible to ignore, and it was that more than any supposed "mind games" that he utilised to perfection.

Confidence: Jose Mourinho

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    This is a different quality to Arsene Wenger's self-belief that we saw earlier, as managerial confidence requires you to keep everything appear smooth on the surface whilst below the deck you are working tirelessly.

    Jose Mourinho instills this sort of confidence in each and every player who pulls on a shirt for him, but the Portuguese also regularly takes aim at his rivals in a bid to wear them down.

    Wenger was the most recent target for his ire, per the BBC and whilst Mourinho may certainly have crossed the line with his "specialist in failure" remark, he has ensured that he will be featuring front and centre of the Frenchman's mind for the remainder of the season.

    It is that ability to get under an opponent's skin that Mourinho brings to the table here and whilst it might not be especially gratifying to witness, it is certainly effective.

Charisma: Jurgen Klopp

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    Mourinho might still be the apple of many a journalist's eye, with plenty competing against one another to deliver the heartiest laugh during one of his press conferences, but Borussia Dortmund's Jurgen Klopp might just have stolen a few of the Chelsea manager's fans away.

    The German boss of last season's Champions League finalists does have his wild side but largely he is a charismatic and popular figure who comes across very well in his interviews.

    Whether or not that has a huge effect on players' performances is up for debate but with two Bundesliga titles and that Champions League final on his CV―plus the impressive displays of his entertaining Dortmund side pleasing millions worldwide―Klopp's personality isn't the only part of his managerial makeup that shines through.

Winning at All Costs: Jose Mourinho

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    Sometimes your team just needs to win, and when that is the case then there are few better managers around at delivering that win than Mourinho.

    All talk of managerial philosophies and how their teams will line up has a very large part to play in the modern game, of course, but when it comes to the big games all that matters is that your team puts the ball in the back of the net more times than your opposition does.

    Mourinho demonstrated that he is the modern master of this in the recent 1-0 win at Manchester City earlier this month, when his Chelsea side took to the Etihad Stadium pitch and delivered a terrific away performance to leave their previously in-form opponents shell-shocked.

    Three massive points were delivered on that night for the umpteenth time in Mourinho's career, and there will be plenty more such victories to come.

Mastering a Way of Playing: Pep Guardiola

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    The "tiki taka" style of play may have appeared long before he took the job at Barcelona, but there is now no doubt that Pep Guardiola is the master of producing it at club level.

    As his Bayern Munich side continue to be the masters of all they survey during the Catalan's first season at the Allianz Arena―Bayern are 19 points clear at the top of the Bundesliga and pretty much through to the Champions League's quarter-finals―it has taken no time for Guardiola's current team to start reproducing the performances of his old one.

    Importantly though, Bayern's previous incarnation of power and pressing is still evident, making this team a glorious combination of two principle tactics which look designed to dominate for years to come.   

Building and Rebuilding a Team: Sir Alex Ferguson

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    The fact that he was there for 27 years meant that Ferguson was going to have to build and rebuild his teams a few times over but in doing it so successfully he truly earned his place amongst the managerial greats.

    Blessed with some terrific youth team products who all emerged at around about the same time, Ferguson was able to mould them into world-class performers and combine them with the players that he brought into the club from elsewhere to make successful sides.

    Doing this once in a managerial tenure is good enough for 99.9 percent of football bosses, but Ferguson was able to do it three or four times right up to his retirement when he was clutching a league title last year.

Attitude: Pep Guardiola

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    Had Pep Guardiola wanted to, he could have had a Ferguson-like reign at Barcelona and stayed at the club he used to captain to preside over an extended period of success.

    He wanted a break though, and to take time out to live his life and study new coaching methods that would prolong his career and allow him to experience other footballing cultures.

    Having moved to New York to rest and recuperate, Guardiola popped up at Bayern Munich last summer and has presided over the German club's success so far this season.

    How long will he stay there for? That remains to be seen, but it wouldn't be a surprise to see him pick up trophies there before moving on again―perhaps to England?―to continue his run of success elsewhere, and that's a healthy attitude to have.