Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho – two of the best managers in the world today.
That statement is undeniable, but when you take time to consider what they have both achieved, it causes you to think that maybe any one of us could have done the same.
Mourinho took a slightly unfashionable club in Portuguese side Porto as his first major managerial position and turned them into European champions in the 2003/04 season. That was definitely not an easy start to managerial life, as Porto were then looked upon as being beneath Benfica and Sporting Lisbon. That aside, Mourinho has only managed major clubs, with major signings, and has won major honours.
Whatever money was needed, it was available. Whatever resources were required, he got them. Whatever player he set his sights on, he got him. Very few slipped through his grasp.
With Guardiola, a huge chunk of his life was spent with Barcelona, whether as a player or as a coach. One of the top two teams in Spain, Barca had everything in place, plus the financial backing to make anything Guardiola did a success. That success has been carried on since his departure and will for some time because the backing is there.
Going to Bayern Munich is another case in point. How could Guardiola fail with the best German team in the Bundesliga for decades?
Mourinho himself hinted at the fact that Guardiola had accepted an easy position when there was a slight dig in 2015:
“For me I’m not the smartest guy to choose countries and clubs. I could choose another club in another country where to be champion is easier,” said the Portuguese in an apparent reference to Guardiola. “I choose a club where I was happier before and a country where you are happy before. I took a risk. I am so, so happy because I won another Premier League title 10 years after [my first] in my second spell at the club.
“I was champion at every club I coached. I came to Inter, Real Madrid and Chelsea. Every title is important, to win the title in Spain with 100 points against the best Barcelona ever was a big achievement that I enjoyed so much.”
“Maybe in the future I have to be smarter and choose another club in another country where everybody is champion,” he added. “Maybe I will go to a country where a kitman can be coach and win the title. “Maybe I need to be smarter but I still enjoy these difficulties.”
And that’s it in a nutshell – “where a kitman can be coach and win the title.”
Both Guardiola and Mourinho have often taken the easiest route, or so it seems. Neither have gone to a club in recent years that is in need of rejuvenation or had a lack of funds.
We talk of both Manchester clubs needing an injection of life in them, but the nucleus of decent teams are there, with world class players already present. What would their coaching skills be like at what could effectively be a smaller club? What would Guardiola do with Norwich City, or Mourinho with Hull, for instance?
You cannot dispute their achievements, but even you or I could not fail to achieve something with clubs like Real Madrid and Barcelona.