So, are you a Mourinho man or a Guardiola man?
In a week when Stevie G slipped, Ronaldo blitzed Bayern, and Newcastle actually won a match, football has reminded us just why we fell in love with it in the first place.
The last gasp events in the Championship season, when Birmingham saved their skins at the absolute last, and Brighton sneaked into the play-offs, was drama of the best kind, with Doncaster and Reading feeling the desperate consequences of those last gasp strikes.
Last week, Stevie G had the slip felt around the world and Liverpool’s title charge may well have ended as a result. Whether they can recover psychologically from that loss, having had one foot over the finish line, remains to be seen.
In midweek, the so called best team in the world were battered by Real Madrid at the Allianz Arena, and just 24 hours later, Diego Simone mastered the master at Stamford Bridge.
Football at this time of the year, is magnificent theatre, no matter which team you support.
But what kind of football do you want your team playing?
The football purists were up in arms last week as Chelsea parked the so called ‘bus’ at Anfield before a combination of Stevie G and Fernando Torres, two Liverpool legends, scuppered Liverpool’s march to the title.
Depending on your point of view, it was either a Mourinho masterclass or an affront to football.
Jose has done it before of course. Who could ever forget the scenes at the Nou Camp as Inter Milan defended a first leg lead against ther European champions Barcelona? And again at Man. City earlier this season. City were battering everyone at home, scoring goals for fun. Result – Man. City 0-1 Chelsea.
‘A Mourinho masterclass’ claimed Martin Tyler. And it was.
Just like it was last Sunday at Anfield. Football is about winning and Mourinho made sure his team won. Brendan Rodgers should have been happy to take a point, even if it made the game the most boring in Premier League history. Had he done so, the title would still be in Liverpool’s hands. Liverpool fans can criticise the Special One all they want, but he is a winner, something Liverpool players haven’t been for some time.
Just three days later however, the egg was truly on Mournho’s face as Athletico Madrid took his team to the cleaners. The first leg bore was again classic Mourinho, but coming out to attack in the second didn’t suit him as well. They got the early goal and another masterclass was on its way, but then Eden Hazard went walkies when he should have been defending and Athletico scored. From then Chelsea were outclassed and Mourinho has criticised Hazard publicly since.
Football fans aghast at the Anfield display cheered as if a tyrant had finally got his comeuppance, but that won’t stop Mourinho. He won’t change, and when he is shining his trophies next season, he won’t worry about what ‘the philosophers’ have to say.
And what of Guardiola’s style. Tika-Taka or Taking the hand?
His team were outclassed by Real Madrid despite dominating possession, and since then Bayern have been accused of being boring.
That’s right – the same team that has dominated the Bundesliga, won the league by almost 30 points and who is now in the German Cup final, has been labelled as boring by English and Irish football fans who have judged Bayern’s entire season on what ITV and Sky Sports showed them over 180 minutes.
Two years ago, Barcelona were the best team on the planet, and it was not just because of Lionel Messi. Now the man behind the Catalans’ success is bring derided because he lost a semi-final.
Over the two legs, Bayern dominated possession but were poor offensively against the most expensive squad in the world. But in all games before that over an 18 month period, they scored over 200 goals, and are now on course to win the fifth of six available trophies over two seasons.
So does this defeat to Madrid this mean Guardiola was a flash in the pan? Over-rated? Or is it typical fare from football reporters, aremchair managers and the philosophers? Why do so many revel in the failure of the successful?
Regardless of your perception, Mourinho and Guardiola will go on and win trophies, and whether it’s Gary Neville, Jamie Redknapp or Joe the taxi man from Shanty, there’s not a thing we can do, or say about it.
Football is about winning, no matter which way you look at it, and these guys are the best at winning.
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