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Wenger v Mourinho, Purist v Pragmatist

Arsene Wenger and Jose MourinhoIt is perhaps the clash of ideology between the two managers that will take centre stage at the Emirates as much as what transpires on the pitch for the Capital One Cup tie of Round 4, maybe more.

Since Arsenal last won a trophy, the Special One has totted up 16. Indeed, in 10 seasons of club management Jose has won seven national league titles, in four different countries, as well as the Champions League, twice and the UEFA Cup. And that period includes his eight-month sabbatical in 2007-08.

Neither played football at the highest level, Jose plied his trade in the Portuguese Second Division while the summit of Wenger`s playing career was 11 appearances in three years for Racing Club Strasbourg.

It is a very subjective matter as to how much the lack of a top-flight playing career has influenced and moulded the managerial approach of the two men.

Arsene Wenger has stuck, stoically, to his philosophy of fluent, flowing football in his tenure at Arsenal, now the longest in British football. Conversely, ever the pragmatist, Jose has done what Jose felt was best at any given time and when you take several moments to reel off his glittering CV who could argue that approach does not work.

If football is a results-driven industry then trophy stats take that directive to an even higher level.

The paradox to the argument of purist versus pragmatist is that when Jose tried to impose his philosophy at Real Madrid it backfired spectacularly but, and it is an important but, it fell down spectacularly when it came to the Champions League.

When he first arrived at the Bernabeu, Mourinho promptly guided Real to success in the Copa del Rey, the first time they won that trophy for 18 years and their first trophy of any kind for three seasons. The following season, 2012, Real set all kinds of new records as they won La Liga for the first time in four years and they then won the Super Cup BUT, when it came to the trophy that mattered most, the Champions League, Jose failed.

For a trophy that is regarded by Real Madrid as their own to watch as Barca, particularly, lorded it was too much for the club hierarchy and they and the Special One parted company.

Wenger`s success, in terms of building teams that are easy on the eye, is built on persuasion where as Jose does seem to elbow anyone who doesn`t toe his particular line of pragmatism.

Arsene seems to accommodate flair and individuality as long as it doesn`t adversely impact on the team ethic which invariably it does not or he doesn`t sign them or keep them. Jose on the other hand insists that his players sublimate their individual approach to that of the team as a whole.

In fact, if you look at it that way, there isn`t too much difference between what the two managers demand of their players, only the ways in which they put it over, which can only enhance expectation of THE tie of Round 4 of the Capital One Cup.

Article title: Wenger v Mourinho, Purist v Pragmatist

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