Latest Guardiola Win Over Mourinho Means More
It was a highly awaited derby encounter, pitting not only two of the richest clubs in the world against one another, but two of the best managers of our generation: Manchester United’s Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola of Manchester City.
At the end of the specially scheduled 12:30pm encounter, Pep Guardiola drew first blood by winning two goals to one, and produced a first-half tactical setup masterpiece that practically made United look ordinary at times.
Jose Mourinho showed a lot of progression and maturity at the build up to this game and must be commended for the tactical and personnel changes he introduced in the second half of this exceptional encounter that shook Man City up, and could have salvaged a point at best for his team.
Many would mathematically be justified in stating that this encounter does not merit all the noise it is generating, as it finally boils down to just three points.
However, I believe that is not where it ends: It goes beyond mathematics. The result, and the way it was achieved, will go a long way in being decisive for the future on other levels.
Market value and merchandising boost for the winner
The ultimate commercial aim of the time schedule, the publicity and the date of this game was aimed at creating a new ‘El Clásico a l’anglais’ as the French would say, to rival the financially buoyant Spanish version (Real Madrid vs Barcelona). This game was seen worldwide ‘live’ by hundreds of millions and, with both teams vying to be the No 1 in merchandising of club materials, the winner converted many potential hundreds of millions of neutral spectators (customers) who watched the match across the globe.
This conversion represents monetary benefits for the winning club, players and the potential of the winner, Manchester City.
Success in football is all about confidence. The belief that the way you play or function brings you success is ever important as one alternates opponents.
Both clubs (Man United and Man City) are rebuilding, coming off a relatively disappointing last season, with City having reached the Champions League semifinals under Manuel Pellegrini and Louis Van Gaal’s United having won the FA cup. Hence the victory or loss psychologically could play a huge role on the way forward as Guardiola’s credibility to his players, employers, fans and a bit more worldwide got a huge boost by beating Man United and this is priceless.
Furthermore, while Man United had at its disposition its full strength, City had to contend with the absence of its most prolific striker Kun Sergio Agüero and Captain Vincent Kompany. Imagine how psychologically well off they will be in the near future with a full house?
Effect on Mourinho
I raise my hat to the special one (Jose Mourinho) as he did not come out to play negative football as he had done in the past whenever he had to play Guardiola, but tried to compete and win with the ball. This made the game quite open for Guardiola’s passing philosophy, which works better when there is space. I believe playing in front of your home fans seems to have influenced this a bit.
I would not be surprised if we see Mourinho’s tactics become unpredictable in the future as he now chases the title race with three points in arrears; employing a less spectacular but result-oriented game plan.
Fan bragging rights
Till the next encounter and probable win of Man United over Man City, the bragging rights in the city of Manchester, thanks to this victory, belong to ‘the Citizens’ and that is something highly dreaded by Man United fans.
Guardiola’s status over Mourinho’s
Mourinho’s fans in the past had always minimalized Guardiola’s domination of the special one based on the argumentation that he inherited an exceptional Barcelona team with little work to do; or that Guardiola only succeeds over Mourinho because he inherited a star-studded Bayern Munich side and could not succeed over Mourinho if he had to build his team from scratch. Well that seems to be partly settled as the domination we saw in the first half was consequential enough to lay to rest some of those claims, as City looked a much better ‘coached’ team than Mourinho’s United.
Having said all this we must not get ahead of ourselves. It is mathematically just three points worth, this victory, and a loss by City next weekend, coupled with a simultaneous United win will put both teams on par. If, in the end, Jose Mourinho wins the Premier League, this victory will have meant less, other than a stimulant to Manchester United’s championship run.