Jose Mourinho is a short term strategist. He plays to win, so when he doesn’t there is little for him to fall back on. He doesn’t seem particularly attached to a style of play nowadays, unless you consider parking the bus to be a style. I like to think of it as an anti-football philosophy. An anti-philosophy if you will.
So when Mourinho loses like he did against Chelsea, it’s difficult to see how he will turn it around. There hasn’t been a definitive approach to games. We are still not sure of his best midfield pairing. Without a philosophy, Mourinho cannot call this a work in progress. Unless he argues that his players need to learn how to play anti-football better.
On the other side of the City Pep is faced with a completely different problem. His team hasn’t won for four games, and the press are sharpening their knives. ‘We never wanted this brand of football in our country PEP. What were you thinking? We don’t care if you’ve won 22 trophies in 8 seasons. Sometimes it has to GO’!
Pep has a philosophy, the problem he faces is a sceptical public. Man City are very much a work in progress, and as a result there are going to be some inevitable hiccups. Individual errors aren’t helping his cause, but don’t think for one moment that Guardiola is going to cave in.
If you are trying to implement a style of play, you cannot abandon it at the first hurdle. The players are yet to fully come to terms with his demands, and some of them may never be capable of doing so. He’ll re-invest in his squad before he considers any sort of compromise.
Having a philosophy also affords Pep the privilege of losing. He can argue that the long term success will outweigh any temporary failures. Mourinho on the other hand must win today, tomorrow and yesterday. His approach allows for nothing less.
Guardiola knows that playing out from the back everytime will result in conceding goals. The idea is that once the approach hits its peak rhythm, they’ll be unstoppable. The odd error will be irrelevant.
Once they are in full swing, I am certain that Pep will then allow his players to make safer choices. His approach will become more pragmatic if needs be. But if he were to compromise now, it would mean that his players would never truly execute his philosophy.
It would make his tenure at City pointless. He may as well park the bus and adopt the anti-football philosophy.
If a child is struggling in maths and they cheat on their exams, they’ll pass the test. What they wont do, is learn maths.
Pedro’s early goal against United was the equivalent of the exam paper being changed at the last minute. You’d memorised all the answers, only to be faced with a completely different test paper. This is hugely problematic when you haven’t been taught how to actually do maths.
This in a nutshell, is the difference between Pep and Jose. One man, trying to teach his students their 12 times tables. The other showing his students the answers at the back of the book.
Neither approach guarantees success outside the classroom, but if you were to take away the text book at least Pep’s pupils would get an A for effort.