Who’s had the better first season: Guardiola or Mourinho?

This article was written by George on Socabol. Check him out on Twitter @georgescbl, and be sure to follow socabol on twitter and instagram (@socabol).

“Which manager has outperformed their predecessor more, Guardiola or Mourinho?” The other day I heard this question be discussed, and after thinking about it for a while, I thought I’d share my views too.

In February 2016 it was announced Pep Guardiola would replace Manuel Pellegrini at Manchester City that summer, and at that time Manchester United were also searching for a new boss. Three months later, United announced Jose Mourinho had replaced Louis Van Gaal as manager of Manchester United. Right, history lesson over. Let’s get into what I think about these two managers’ debut seasons.

​The summer transfer window is vital for any manager taking over at a new club – and it’s no different for Pep and Jose. Without naming all of them, Guardiola’s signings at City have been reasonably good on the whole. The likes of Leroy Sane and Gabriel Jesus have been impressive, and even John Stones hasn’t been half-bad at times. Yes, their price tags were huge, but these sorts of players are all very young and have huge potential. Mourinho went for a different approach in the transfer window and signed the big names who he hoped would have an instant impact – whether or not it worked is debatable. In my opinion neither manager had a perfect transfer window, but Pep has done the better job in terms of both strengthening the squad AND building for the future.

​Currently speaking the Manchester clubs are in a battle for fourth place, which I’m sure isn’t how they envisioned they’d be ending the season. For Guardiola, the prospect of silverware is dead – unless he miraculously manages to overturn a 13 point gap between City and league leaders Chelsea with just five games left to play. As for United, they already have the League Cup under their belt, and they have a great opportunity to win the Europa League. Now, if you compare that to last season, City have gone backwards (they won the league cup last year), whereas United have certainly progressed following their trophy-less 2015/16 campaign.

The final poinr I’m going to bring up is the impact Pep and Jose have made in Manchester. For Pep the aim was, as usual, to build a team that plays ‘nice’ football (by being patience and keeping possession). He has by no means achieved this, but we’ve certainly seen glimpses of promise and it’s clear that Pep has a vision for how he wants City to play. As for Mourinho, he’s more or less done what he usually does at a new club – he’s used the big characters to win over the dressing room and galvanize his squad. What’s more, he’s heavily criticised players like Martial and Shaw in public who arguably haven’t deserved it, and then somehow managed to receive a positive reaction from those very same players. It’s clear to see that neither manager have what they want, but both are making positive strides towards it.

In summary, I think it’s fair to say both managers have done a better job than their predecessors. Both clubs finished the 2015/16 season with 66 points – now City and United have 65 and 64 points respectively, so it’s safe to say they will both improve upon the last season’s tally. That being said, I’m a firm believer that silverware is success (and just to clarify, 4th place isn’t a trophy). So, in all honesty, I think Jose has outperformed his predecessor more than Pep has – purely due to United’s potential League Cup & Europa League double.

That’s just my opinion, anyway. Regardless of whether you agree or disagree with my, please tweet me your thoughts to @georgescbl.

Vote above and let us know what you think in the comments!

Be sure to check out Socabol.com, and follow them on social media (@socabol).

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