Eddie Howe vs. Jose Mourinho: Track Record
In terms of what they’ve achieved in their careers, it’s clear that Jose Mourinho comes out on top. However, what about more recent history? Mourinho joined United in May 2016 and his record since has been indifferent. A relatively successful first season ended in qualification for the Champions League courtesy of a Europa League triumph. The 2017/18 season gave United fans a 2nd place finish in the league behind run away winners, Man City. While defeat to Chelsea in the FA Cup Final meant finishing the season with no silverware.
Needless to say, there hasn’t been any trophies for Bournemouth over the past couple of seasons, but their achievements have to be admired. Howe led his team to a 9th place finish in the 2016/2017 season and then to a respectable 12th during the last campaign. While many in the media have been calling United’s patchy start to this campaign Mourinho’s “third season syndrome”, Bournemouth’s trajectory only seems to be going upwards. They’re sitting 6th, three points ahead of Manchester United.
Eddie Howe vs. Jose Mourinho: Footballing philosophies
The main gripe from United fans over the past two seasons has been the turgid style of football that’s often been seen at Old Trafford. Only 54 league goals were scored during Mourinho’s first season in charge, and this increased to 68 during last year’s campaign. The comparative figures for Bournemouth were 55 and 45. Eddie Howe likes his team to play football in the ‘right way’ and rarely do they turn to the long ball when behind in games. Compare that approach to Mr. Fellaini’s saviour role at United.
Mourinho is notorious for ‘parking the bus’ against quality opposition. Gone are the swashbuckling attacking days of Sir Alex Ferguson in Europe. The safety first approach ensures that heavy defeats are rare, but also leaves the fans wondering if more could be done in the final third. On the other hand, Bournemouth can be sometimes soft at the back, and their negative goal difference in the past two seasons reflects that. Their overall style of play is based on blistering counter attacks and one of Howe’s admirers is the new Chelsea coach, Sarri, who complimented the Cherries’ approach to games:
“They are very dangerous opponents for us. Because they are well organised, they are dangerous in counter-attacks, so I think the match will be very difficult for us. But I think that we want to be in control of the match. We want to try to gain points.”
Eddie Howe vs. Jose Mourinho: Transfer Dealings
Jose Mourinho’s request to sign a central defender in the summer for around 50-60 million was denied by Ed Woodward. The United chief quietly pointed to Eric Bailly and Lindelof. Both central defenders were signed by Mourinho, but the Portuguese manager’s trust in their abilities has been eroded. There are actually many question marks over the quality of signings during his time at Old Trafford.
While the jury is still out on Paul Pogba and Romelu Lukaku, there have been a number of underwhelming signings. Alexis Sanchez has been an unmitigated disaster thus far. The massive wages aren’t helping, with the media sharpening their swords every time the Chilean steps on the pitch. Lindelof, Bailly, and Fred simply haven’t done enough yet to justify their transfer fees. Fred now seems like a bizarre signing with Mourinho seemingly not trusting a player that cost 55 million in the summer.
There have been a number of canny buys by Eddie Howe. Nathan Ake at 20M, in an age of expensive central defenders, seems like a snip now. Begovic for 10M was a decent price for an experienced goalkeeper, while David Brooks at 10M could prove to be the bargain of this season. It hasn’t all been smooth sailing for Howe in the transfer market. Jermaine Defoe’s long term lucrative contract now appears to have been a possible error, while Jordan Ibe can’t seem to get his career going again.
Eddie Howe vs. Jose Mourinho: The verdict
Who is the better manager now between the two top flight coaches? Jose Mourinho can still pull off a tactical masterclass from time to time, but Howe has developed a fine reputation as an attack-minded coach. While Mourinho has been backed significantly in the transfer market, Howe has worked well with limited funds. In terms of man management, Howe’s unwillingness to publicly criticse his players is in stark contrast to Mourinho’s regular tirades. One manager seems to be destined for great things in the future, while the other is potentially embarking a downward curve. It’s a tight call on who is the better manager now.
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Photo by Ronnie Macdonald