Pep Guardiola’s first season in Manchester has proved underwhelming. The ex-Barca coach has struggled to justify the hype surrounding his appointment. Manuel Pellegrini might be forgiven for enjoying a smile at the turn of events. The Chilean had been forced out so City could move to the ‘next level’. That level may turn out to be the Europa League. Both managers have won plenty of trophies during their careers, but we’re asking two fans today: ‘Guardiola V Pellegrini: Who’s the better manager?’
Pelligrini was replaced by a one-trick pony
By ‘Dan L.’
Pep Guardiola hasn’t done anything of note since leaving Barcelona. Managing Bayern to win the Bundesliga could be one of the first jobs performed by a robot in the future. I don’t want to enter ‘Paul Merson’ territory here but Olympiakos does spring to mind. Pep managed Barcelona at their peak. He walked in to a dressing room and saw Xavi, Iniesta and Messi. In their prime as well. That’s impossible to beat.
La Liga was a two-horse race when Guardiola was in charge. Valencia had fallen away after Benetiz had departed. While Atletico were still a struggling team waiting to be saved by Simeone. If Pep could beat Real, they would win La Liga (and most likely the two domestic trophies for good measure).
A bloody façade
Two Champions League trophies is his best achievement but it’s worth remembering the squad Guardiola had at his disposal. It was head and shoulders above everyone else. What did Pep decide to do after departing Camp Nou? He signed for the most powerful club in a one-team league. Interestingly Guardiola couldn’t win another Champions League medal with Bayern. Meanwhile, Enrique had taken over at Barca, and lo and behold, they continued to win! Perhaps it’s because of their, have I said this already, amazing team. Furthermore, Enrique has a weaker hand with Xavi retiring and an aging Iniesta.
Pep then signed for City while Pelligrini was still our manager. That pissed me off. No respect shown by the club or for Guardiola for that matter. In full honesty, I was caught up in the fanfare and got excited last summer over the possibilities. However, this came after weeks of head shaking. Our season fell apart and the blame for that lies with the club’s early announcement. Remember how Fergie’s first announcement for United went down?
A supreme gentleman
Pelligrini has been a gentleman and a brilliant manager. There was a stability to the side, a formation where everyone knew what to do. Yes, we were sometimes found wanting in Europe but the players simply weren’t at that level to compete. He also had to deal with the Financial Fair Play rules. Those same rules seem to have been forgotten again.
Guardiola splashed the cash last summer. Mourinho stole the headlines with the record-breaking fee for a mediocre midfielder, but Pep was signing players all over the place. While at Barca, the core strength of the team meant that new acquisitions could fail and it wouldn’t matter. We don’t have that luxury.
Nolito for 15 odd million, Bravo (the only player Barca would sell him) for around the same and Gundogen for a few million more have been disasters. That’s over 50 million spent on three players who aren’t capable of bringing us to the next level. Question marks remain over the amount of money spent on Stones, Sane and to a lesser extent, Jesus.
We could end up in the Europa League. 150 million pounds spent and there has been no progress made. Pelligrini had his faults but I would have him back in a heartbeat. This ‘project’ that we’re being told about is a complete load of bollocks. Don’t forget that this is Pep’s first true test, and he’s failing it badly.
Pelligrini is simply not on Pep’s level. Give it time.
By ‘Simon Q.’
This is the toughest Premier League in years. Liverpool, Spurs, United and Chelsea are all significantly stronger than last season. Everton have turned Goodison Park in a fortress. Even Arsenal might still pinch 4th. The TV money meant an insane summer transfer window where most of the mid-table clubs were breaking their transfer records. Not the best time for a new manager to arrive.
Pelligrini massively under achieved at City. During his three seasons, he won one Premier League title and two League Cups. This was during a period where United were an absolute shambles, Liverpool continued to be Liverpool and Leicester won the bloody league. Last year was an excellent opportunity for us to win the league. Arsenal finished second for feck sake. Arsenal! Pelligrini couldn’t finish his last season in style when it was there for the taking.
Some defenders of the Chilean coach will point at the early announcement of Guardiola as the reason. I call bullshit. The same situation happened at Bayern when Pep took over. The outgoing manager went on to win the treble. That’s what good managers do. While Pelligrini did a decent job at Malaga, his only trophy in Europe before city was the Intertoto Cup. The tournament, teams actively try to avoid.
Pelligrini is, as the media says, a gentleman. Unfortunately that’s not enough to guarantee success. At his one season at another big club, he under achieved at Real Madrid. This included getting knocked out of the Copa Del Rey by a Segunda division team. There was an uninspiring feel to his team in Manchester. It was if there was an acceptance that City would never truly become a great side.
Guardiola is a proven winner. I’m by no means a fan-boy of the man from Catalan, but look at his record. Trophies wherever he goes. I don’t buy the ‘there was no competition’ line about his time in Germany and Spain. Dortmund just knocked Bayern out of the cup, which means that Ancelotti won’t retain that trophy. In Real Madrid, you have a team guaranteed to be in the top 3 sides of Europe every season. Lastly, how do you explain two Champions League trophies?
Tougher conditions than ever
This season is a slog. Nearly every club (bar Sunderland) has become stronger. Cliché time now; but there are no easy games. This is especially true when a manager parks a giant red bus across the Etihad. I feel that Guardiola will secure a Champions League spot. Even if this doesn’t happen, next year will be a different proposition. If he is allowed to modify the team in the summer, we could be unstoppable next year.
His summer signings have been criticized but look at the development of Sane. The guy is only a kid and will continue to improve. The same applies to Stones and Jesus (when he’s back). It’s unfair to blame the manager for an injury to Gundogen, and he could come good. The likelihood is that some of the team will be pushed out in the summer.
Give Pep the same three years
That’s where Pep is so important. He is building a team capable of winning the Champions League. This takes time. Football is now about delivering instant results. One slightly underwhelming season has to be compared to six extremely successful ones. A single summer window and season cannot change that.
In the Guardiola V Pellegrini debate, there can only be one winner. Pep has achieved far more than a manager who is over a decade older. Once given the time to build a team that plays attractive, fluid, attacking football, City will become a powerhouse of European football. Something that was unachievable under Pellegrini. Come back in a year and make a judgement then.
What’s your opinion? Who is the better manager? Let us know below.
Photo by joshjdss
Photo by Thomas Rodenbücher
Photo by Thomas Rodenbücher
Photo by Mauricio Macri
Photo by joshjdss
Photo by joshjdss