In 2004, Jose Mourinho led a group of barely-known players to his first ever Champions League title at F.C Porto. That achievement opened the doors for a lot of others that followed, and it’s for these successes he’s forever regarded as one of the best managers of all time.
His former jolly friend during his time at Barcelona Pep Guardiola is another manager many believes deserves to be mentioned in that “best managers of all time” category alongside Mourinho. Just like Jose, Pep has won a lot of trophies with different teams, and looks on course to take Manchester City to lofty heights this term.
However, inasmuch as the Catalan is deserving of all the respect, accolades and praises showered on him on a daily, the fact remains that he is still largely unproven. Not many (say Barcelona fans) will agree with this, but the evidence abounds.
At Barcelona where his coaching journey was birthed, Josep inherited arguably one of the best teams in the world at the time. Despite showing club super stars Ronaldinho, Deco and eventually, Eto’o the exit door upon taking up the mantle, a burgeoning Messi and Busquets, midfield aces Xavi and Iniesta were all already at his beck and call.
The rest they say is history. Pep Guardiola went on to conquer the world, winning the treble amongst many other titles before drawing a curtain on his Barcelona career after 4 seasons in charge of the Camp Nou outfit. All on the back of these football geniuses he met in the first team. Back then, many believed Barcelona didn’t need a coach to win trophies. Another argument for another day.
Proceeding from there, he took a year sabbatical before joining Bayern Munich in 2013, and it won’t be erroneous to say inheriting a Jupp Heynckes squad, that had just won the treble did put him in a very favourable and lucky position. Once again.
His 3 years at the Allianz Arena aren’t considered extraordinary enough by many Bundesliga fans, simply because he failed to get his hands on the Champions League trophy during his tenure.
Now the honcho at Manchester City, Pep has a chance to prove what he can do with a team that has become a shadow of itself in the last 2 seasons. And it shouldn’t be too tasking given the crop of players at his disposal.
Excluding those he brought in during the summer transfer window, the City squad has always been one of the best in England, so at the end of the day, it’s still safe to say his great-squad-inheritance spree continued till now.
Chances are that he would help return the EPL title to the Etihad Stadium after a 2-season wait, and even get a chance to take a proper shot at the Champions League if things fall in place, but none of his achievements; past and present would utterly convince us that he hasn’t always had luck on him side as far as having a solid team already lying in wait for him goes.
Until he pulls a Mourinho’s Porto or a Ranieri’s Leicester, then it isn’t wrong to say one of the most successful managers in the world remains unproven. Think otherwise, I’d be waiting in the comment box.