The Fallacy of Guardiola’s ‘Genius’

Pep G.jpg

Two coaches, more than any other, have been the focus of the football world these past few years: Jose Mourinho and Josep Guardiola. One a self-confessed genius (a claim I’d questioned in an earlier write-up), the other a proclaimed messiah. Of a truth, the attacking style of Guardiola’s teams is a joy to watch; same as the football of some Mourinho teams, can be tiresome. But is Guardiola as accomplished as his apologists would have us believe? Is he a genius in the real sense of the word?

First off, in football winning trophies is everything. Any fan, no matter the club affiliation, would tell you that. And they usually don’t care how you win, just win. Guardiola failed to win a trophy in his first season in England. While it’s not a crime, surely, is not genius stuff. Roberto Mancini, who rebuilt the team from the ground up, won a trophy in his second season. Manuel Pellegrini won the league in his first season. Guardiola inherited a team of Champions, a genius would have won a trophy, any trophy, with that squad in the first season.

The constant argument, the only blot against Jose Mourinho, is that he failed to win the Champions League with Real Madrid. Yet, Mourinho inherited a Real Madrid team that hadn’t won the Copa del Rey in 20 years, Spanish Liga in two years, and hadn’t progressed beyond the Round of 16 in the Champions League in six years. Madrid won the Copa del Rey in his first season, won the La Liga in his second season, and played the Semi-Final of the UCL every season under Mourinho…that either makes Mourinho a genius too, or disqualifies both of them.

Unlike the Mourinho experience at Madrid and United, Guardiola was hired by Bayern Munich for only one reason: bring the Champions League trophy back to Bavaria. They were the undisputed kings of Germany, and had nothing to prove on the local scene. But what the Spaniard would be majorly remembered for, is the 4-0 Champions League humiliation in front of their fans by Carlo Ancelotti’s Real Madrid. A record. All coaches suffer embarrassing defeats in the league; small clubs get humiliated in the Champions League, but big clubs that are coached by a ‘genius’, should not be in that category.

Sir Alex Ferguson won the Triple with United, Mourinho has won the Champions League with two different teams, and won the quadruple with (a troubled) Inter. That may not be ‘genius’ stuff; but ‘winning everything’ with a ‘set’ team isn’t genius either. And playing ‘sexy football’ certainly is not. The Dutch national team of the early 70’s played sexy football, the Brazil team to the 1982 World Cup played sexy football, Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal play sexy football. All these teams are not considered ‘great’ teams, they are footnotes in history. Sexy football does not a genius make.

There is no doubt that Pep Guardiola is a good coach. But is he a great coach? A genius? Or just a man who happened to be in the right place at the right time at Barcelona? The ‘failure’ at Bayern and big budget of Manchester City have left the questions unanswered…maybe the future will. 

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12 thoughts on “The Fallacy of Guardiola’s ‘Genius’

  1. Pep Gourdiola is still a young coach and has achieved a lot with so much trophies to show for. When he turns 60 years in 14 years time, then you can now assess him with people like Alex Ferguson. Remember that Mouriho is 7 years older than Pep and there isn’t much difference of the trophies they had won. Talking about Pep loosing 4-0 while coaching at Bayern Munich, have you forgotten that Pep at Barca humiliated mou’s Madrid team by 5-0 in his first year. Check the records, the meeting between the two coaches, Pep has defeated mou the more.

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  2. Fallacy? Reads like a Mourinho defense!
    First, Pep never labelled himself a genius, the media did.
    All he’s laid claim to is inspiration by Cruyff, modifying & applying his own variation of Total Football to be extremely successful with Messi & Barca & other clubs.
    On the other hand, Mourinho’s media relations are an accumulation of COMPARATIVELY poor successes in recent years, his decorum and ill manners, quite grumpy and willingness to be sour, gruff mannerisms plus a seeming tactical standstill and preference to play ‘with brakes on’ in light of Pep’s refreshing and bold attacking play which looks well on the way to winning the league and who knows what else!
    Also, Pep has generally been the better gentleman publicly (Wigan nonsense included).
    Mourinho needs no defence but should devise a way of returning to winning major trophies again with Man U … especially in style in comparison with Pep. Not that style mattered but managing United means that is now important.
    However, with Pep in the same league he ruled the roost, that challenge is exacerbated and even more infuriating to Mou which continually brings out the ‘worst’ in him.

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  3. While the point of the article is noted, there is no mention of how City have the most goals, have the best team, have the best manager and the best player in the league. They had an 18 match winning sequence in the league, the best ever in Premier League. Still yet, Pep is not a genius. While at Barcelona, he won the Treble with a team that had just finished 3rd or 4th in La Liga. While it is true he spends money, he buys the players that can fit his philosophy. Why have players that are not in sync with how you want to play football? He’s and will still be a genius. Everton and Milan spent last summer, where ae they on their league titles.

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  4. With these analysis, am left with the conclusion that Pep is not great after all. But great Egbon Guardiola is a cool headed manager compared to Moringa sorry Mourinho.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Interesting….Mourinho was just added to it. Pep was the target. Keep it up, one day you will give up. Pep has never alluded anything to himself and has always worked quietly without disturbing others. Some said he met. Great teM at man city, while some said he bought all the players including the likes of Debryna, Aguero, Sterling Fernandinho and others that he met. History will judge us all…..time will tell.

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