Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola are two of the finest managers in world football today.
The pair have two different ways of conducting themselves, two different football philosophies and two different, but equally polarizing clubs in FC Barcelona and Real Madrid CF.
But the question that everyone wants answered is: Which one is better? That question has no straightforward answer, as both managers have been successful under different circumstances and have led very different careers.
Still, each manager has key advantages or positives that push him above the other. Earlier this week, Manuel Traquete gave you six reasons as to why Pep Guardiola is the better coach than Jose Mourinho.
Here, I flip the tables around and give you six reasons as to why Jose Mourinho is a better coach than Pep Guardiola.
Pep Guardiola fans like to point out that the Barcelona manager has won 10 titles in three years with Barca, and thus should be considered better than Mourinho, who has "only" won 18 titles in 11 years.
What those fans forget or neglect to mention however is that the Barcelona manager has achieved all his titles with one of the best, if not the best, footballing sides in history. He has had no managerial experience outside of Barcelona.
Meanwhile, Jose Mourinho has turned a number of mediocre sides into true winners and has been able to replicate his success at every club he has coached. Benfica, União de Leiria, FC Porto, Chelsea, Internazionale and Real Madrid all improved significantly under Jose Mourinho's watch.
Similarly, Pep Guardiola fans attempt to compare Pep Guardiola's win percentage of 72.1 with Jose Mourinho's win percentage of 68.2; but how can you compare Mourinho's win percentage from games managing the likes of União de Leiria, with Pep Guardiola's win percentage, which comes solely from managing Barcelona?
The fact that percentages are even close is a huge testament to the Portuguese manager's abilities.
When it comes to conversations on footballing philosophy, Barcelona fans love to harp on how Pep Guardiola and Barcelona play the most attacking, beautiful football there is. They deride the managers of teams that beat them, like Jose Mourinho, as managers who rely on defensive tactics to win "ugly" against the team.
However, as Tom Drisdell explain's excellently in his article, the Catalan Myth is indeed nothing more than a myth. Sure, it can be called attacking football, but beautiful, it is not.
More often than not, the neutral supporter has seen himself bored to tears as Barcelona complete pass after pass after pass, dominating possession but doing little else until an opening presents itself.
When the opening goal is scored, the Barcelona loosen up and dominate the game, pounding in a number of goals; but until that goal is scored, the game is slowed tremendously and turned into a contest of patience—with Barcelona usually succeeding.
Mourinho does not rely on such boring tactics. His team is disciplined, but they know how to play attacking football and get the job done without having to bore spectators until the first goal. Real Madrid's 102 goals in the 2010-11 La Liga season can attest to this.
Mourinho gets his reputation for "ugly football" for the manner in which his Inter Milan team beat Barcelona over two legs in the 2009-10 Champions League.
There is no denying that the tactics employed by Mourinho in those fixtures were defensive, but there is also no denying that those tactics were necessary as the Inter Milan team of 2009-10 was a less talented team than the Barcelona team of 2009-10.
At Real Madrid, Jose Mourinho now coaches a much more offensively gifted side, and now generally plays attacking football that yields a plethora of goals.
Yes, defensive tactics are still used against Barcelona, but that is because Barcelona's possession football is designed to suffocate attacking football, giving Real Madrid and Jose Mourinho no choice but to adjust, which the team and coach have done fairly well since the first Clasico of 2010-11.
In Manuel Traquete's article, Traquete claims that Pep Guardiola has proven that he can stay at the top, while Jose Mourinho has not.
As with the argument that Pep Guardiola is more successful than Jose Mourinho, this argument makes no sense. Pep Guardiola is coaching at the best cub in the world with the best players in the world; he's had to do far less than Mourinho to stay at the top.
Traquete claims Pep Guardiola has been improving the squad every season he's been at Barcelona, but that's very evidently far from the truth.
Pep Guardiola very clearly dropped the quality of the team in 2009-10 when he made one of the worst financial moves in world football history to pay €46 million—plus Eto'o—for Zlatan Ibrahimovic. And were it not for the natural emergence of Pedro as well as the natural progression of Lionel Messi's game, the 2009-10 season could've been a real failure for Barcelona.
The 2010-11 season saw Barcelona restore its quality up front through the purchase of David Villa, but such a purchase can be credited more towards Sandro Rosell and his team than Pep Guardiola.
Meanwhile, looking at Jose Mourinho, what manager has proven more more capable at staying at the top, no matter what? Sure, he didn't remain at Inter to help them defend their Champions League title, but how can you blame him for his ambition and moving higher up the footballing ladder to establish himself as one of the most successful managers in the game?
Mourinho is respected by all his former clubs and praised by many of his former players. He is in constant demand from the biggest clubs, and were he to be fired from Real Madrid, there is little doubt that there would be offers from all the biggest clubs in the world for his services. Just recently, Wesley Sneijder said this about Mourinho:
"I've played for many coaches and each one has been different from the others, but Jose Mourinho is still the one I liked best both as a coach and as a man."
With all this in mind, how can anyone possibly say Mourinho isn't at the top of world football?
In Slide 4 of his slideshow, Traquete once again gives Guardiola way more credit than he is due. He credits Guardiola with the development of Sergio Busquets, Pedro Rodriguez and Thiago Alcantara.
But once again, Traquete is ignoring some very obvious and important facts. For one, the development of these three players is much more attributable to the excellent development afforded to the players in Barcelona's youth system than Pep Guardiola.
Yes, Guardiola afforded them the first team opportunities to shine, but that is only after being ingrained with the DNA needed to integrate perfectly into the Barcelona squad in the youth system, thus practically guaranteeing their success with Barca.
Jose Mourinho, on the other hand, has crafted his players into world beaters the hard way—usually without the help of a youth system or B team that plays with his exact philosophy.
Admittedly, Mourinho is not a man who develops youth products; he prefers to discover talented players and turn them into world class footballers. He has done this throughout his career with the likes of Ricardo Carvalho, Deco, Derlei, Maniche, John Terry, Diego Milito and Walter Samuel just to name a few, among many others.
While some managers, like Pep Guardiola, prefer to keep a low profile with the media and don't like to interact too much with their individual squad members, Jose Mourinho loves to do the exact opposite.
"The Special One" is well known of course for his controversial comments at press conferences, but what isn't widely known about Jose Mourinho is that he possesses a remarkable ability to transmit his confidence to his players. Frank Lampard explains:
"He knew how to get into people's heads. He got into mine the moment he came. He has that air of arrogance, that confidence, and it rubs off. I have never had a manager who, while I'm standing in the shower cleaning my balls, tells me I'm the best player in the world. He did that. I'll never forget it. So casual.
"From that moment the extra confidence was in me. Not that I thought I was the best player in the world, but the manager who had just won the Champions League thought it. So I went out a different player."
Numerous players have also reported the same boost of confidence from Mourinho. Prime examples include Karim Benzema, Emmanuel Adebayor, Didier Drogba, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Diego Milito. And what do you know? All five strikers have excelled under Mourinho's coaching.
Most people may not consider the ability to transmit confidence to one's players to be a very unique coaching trait, but Jose Mourinho does it better than any other manager in world football. The list of successful cases goes on and on...Mourinho repeatedly gets the best out of his best players by giving them the confidence and support they need to succeed.
In the final slide of his slideshow, Traquete argues that Pep Guardiola's ability to continue motivating his Barcelona squad is far more impressive than Mourinho's ability to instill a winning mentality in the various teams he's coached, even though they were without much success prior to his arrival.
I don't buy that. While complacency sounds all fair and logical on paper, I fail to understand how an outfield footballer, whose career in the modern age of world football lasts, at most, around 15 years, can grow "complacent" of winning when success is so fleeting.
Additionally, teaching a winning team to win more doesn't require as much effort as teaching losers how to win. The winning team already knows what must be done to win more games, and simply needs to re-implement what has worked in the past.
For a losing team, a coach must start from scratch. He must motivate the squad, decide on the best tactics and make a wide range of improvements to the squad. From there, he must work to improve team chemistry and manage to help each and every player excel on the pitch.
Motivating Xavi, Puyol, Abidal and Co. should not be difficult...these players are proven winners who know that they have the confidence of their coach, and are used to following Guardiola's instructions.
Motivating huge egos like Samuel Eto'o, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema to adjust to unfamiliar positions, to sacrifice their talents for the good of the team, and to take on a new system takes much more energy and effort.
Nevertheless, Mourinho has excelled at it, as his 150 home league games unbeaten streak from February 23rd, 2002 to April 2nd, 2011 proves.
The purpose of this slideshow is NOT to bash Pep Guardiola. There is no doubt that he is an excellent manager who has achieved a historic amount of trophies in a very short managerial career thus far.
The purpose of this slideshow is to present a more balanced analysis of the two coaches. Manuel Traquete gave you his reasons and opinions as to why Pep Guardiola is the better coach; so I believe it's only fair to level the playing field by giving you my reasons why I believe Jose Mourinho is better.
People often argue that this debate is unnecessary...and to an extent, it is. Mourinho has had a much longer career than Guardiola, and Guardiola will have to stay "at the top" for at least five or six years before a more legitimate comparison can be made.
Still, like the Pele-Maradona debate, the Pele-Lionel Messi debate, or the Cristiano Ronaldo-Lionel Messi debate, these are all debates that will take place, and to remain silent on the matters won't change that.
So, speak your opinion. Let me know what you guys think! I'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts on this subject.