Posts Tagged ‘Manchester United’

“Mourinho + Money = Success” is a myth. There are two clubs (Chelsea F.C. and Real Madrid) which blindly believed in this equation. The blame for not-so-successful campaigns of these clubs was entirely on José Mourinho, but the reasons include the players, the fans and the management as well. Club is like a car which runs with the management, the coach, the players and the fans acting as the four wheels enabling a smooth ride. This article will dispel the general thought that the special one is “solely” responsible for the not-so-successful campaigns of Chelsea F.C. and Real Madrid.

Jose Mourinho - Aggression is his forte

Jose Mourinho – Aggression is his forte

1. Players: Players who play at a top club have to focus on the club’s ambitions and place their own interests one step lower than the club’s. This hadn’t happened in Real Madrid.

  • Sergio Ramos didn’t follow the man marking plan in a set piece and then blamed Mourinho for never playing football at the highest level. This is sheer indiscipline and this happens only when the player thinks him above everyone else.
  • Cristiano Ronaldo openly stated that he was sad (The reason for that is not yet known). Such an important player voicing something negativity impacts a club to the highest degree.
  • Iker Casillas and Kaka should be praised here particularly. Though very famous players with good reputation and been benched by Mourinho for long spells, they didn’t complain openly or create any negativity in the media.
  • Álvaro Arbeloa’s post season statement shows that there are players who did put their ambitions ahead of the club’s unlike what Mou did.
Sergio Ramos and Jose Mourinho

Sergio Ramos and Jose Mourinho

2. Fans: The club fans shouldn’t always put a player’s image above the club’s image. That’s what has happened when Mourinho benched Iker Casillas. What happened between Jose and Iker is not known to anyone! But, if the manager thinks that a particular player has to be benched the fans shouldn’t go against the manager and act as a negative force against the team. They jeered their manager who has the potential to shape their club, give a tough fight and topple Barcelona from their domination and their club’s very own player Adan for being played instead of Iker. Such single player worship won’t help any club to achieve greatness. (Media acts both the ways here. They criticize when player power grows stronger in any club and when a manager tries to control it criticizes him for the same. Fans shouldn’t buy in whatever media propagates and act as a negative force against the club). Half the section of the fans chanted his name throughout his last game in charge at Real Madrid. That itself is a success of José.

Mourinho, Gracias por luchar contra viento y marea

Mourinho, Gracias por luchar contra viento y marea

3. Management: José Mourinho received great support from Real Madrid board. Even the removal of Valdano was of great help in Mourinho acquiring greater control. In Perez’ announcement of Jose’s departure, he mentioned that the mutual consented contract termination wouldn’t have happened had Real Madrid won the Champions League (which was missed with a 4-3 loss to Dortmund in Semi Finals). This means that the club board has had their faith on Mourinho till the end (Had Madrid won the Champions League, Iker would be benched till he sorts out the issue with Mou). But this hadn’t happened at Chelsea. Though the special one instilled the much needed winning mentality into the team’s DNA, Roman’s ego went above any reason or logic. By firing Mourinho, he created an imbalance which has impacted the team till now and left the fans wanting him back.

Jose Mourinho and Roman Abramovich

Jose Mourinho and Roman Abramovich

4. The Special One: José accusation of everyone-but-him for the failure is also not true. He is also responsible for the not-so-successful campaigns he had. Remember that Mourinho’s attitude of creating the us-versus-everyone-else-in-the-world image is not under question. That has helped teams come close together and to stand up to succeed in all the competitions.

  • Mourinho’s aggression made him poke Tito Vilanova during a match against Barcelona. That was suicidal. It was one of the incidents which even his die hard fans can’t support. His post match comments too made him the villain of footballing community.
  • Mourinho wasn’t aggressive in his match against Manchester United in the Champions League 2012-13 season. He seemed more like he wanted to be Sir Alex Ferguson’s successor than to be a successful Real Madrid manager. His post match comments made him and the club look so small. That’s one of his all time low points. To say that the opponents were the best team at such an intense match would have given his team members lack of confidence and trust in him.
Jose Mourinho poking Tito Vilanova's eye

Jose Mourinho poking Tito Vilanova’s eye

So, with these four factors discussed, I would like to rewrite the success equation (in the beginning of this article) as follows:

Confident Board + Supportive Fans + Selfless Players + The Special One = Guaranteed Success

Hail Mourinho! Comparison of Jose Mourinho with other renowned managers are on their way. So, keep reading!



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The world sees Chelsea FC as a Football Club, whereas the owner Roman Abramovich sees Chelsea FC as his new costly toy. In particular, the managers of Chelsea FC. When he gets bored of a manager, he throws him out. Almost everyone who follows Football knows this by now. As a fan of Chelsea FC, I see Manchester United, Arsenal, and Everton with envy. How it works for these clubs to have a consistent manager even though the managers of these clubs don’t add trophy to the club every year? Manchester United and Sir Alex Ferguson are almost synonymous. But to create such a legacy is not what Chelsea needs now. A stint of three reasonable years isn’t asking for much. Also the fans of Chelsea FC needs to understand that even Fergie was very close under the axe four years into his tenure. Had they not won the FA cup third round against Nottingham Forest, thanks to the goal from Mark Robins, their history over the past 22 years would have been altogether different for Manchester United. And Manchester United finished thirteenth that season (1989-90). It took a long seven years for even the mighty Fergie to win the league title. Persistence with the same manager is the key to set up a world class football club. Injecting the cash from oil well into the club might win trophies in the short term but it is not a sustainable mechanism.

Arsene Wenger’s story is more than just a case of Football Management. He is one manager who earns profits to the management rather than spending millions freely. Not many football coaches will be ready to carry the financial debt stress due to building a stadium on his shoulders. After their Emirates stadium project, the period saw very less but futuristic signings from the `professor` which helped Arsenal to post a 56 million pounds profit before tax during the year 2010-11. Though this resulted in Arsenal not being in a position to compete for the league title, they always qualified for the Champions League. Support from the board and the fans are crucial as winning trophies alone does not define the success of a club. Sustainable presence, pride and growth does.

Everton’s manager David Moyes is another commendable manager who has had a tenure of more than ten years now with the club. Before he took charge of the club, the club hasn’t finished in the top 10 of the league table for six years. And after he took over, the club has finished below top 10 only in 3 of the 10 years. They qualified for UEFA champions league once and qualified for UEFA cup thrice. A manager with a record of just over 40% wins has made a statement on sustainable presence and development in the premier league. This is not possible without the support of the owner and the fans. 

It is very much a possibility of building a club by dropping into the mid table in the early years. The owner just needs some patience to give the manager a minimum of three year spell to form a stable squad when the dressing room is so powerful with experienced players. These experienced players are stuck in some system they have followed over years. In my honorable opinion, Andre Villas Boas is not a manager who should have been sacked but who should have been given full support. Had the owner supported the manager instead of the aging players, he would have turned the club’s fortune in two or three years. Finally, I envy Inter for the support shown by Moratti on Ranieri even after the Champions League exit. I am hoping that the mentality of Roman and the Chelsea fans change.

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Once again, Barcelona outclassed Manchester United in the finals of UEFA Champions League on Saturday with a 3-1 victory! F.C.Barcelona join Ajax with four Champions League trophies to their name. The match was held at Wembley with an attendance of around 87000 fans.

Sir Alex Ferguson started with the same line-up as in the semifinals second leg against Shalke 04. Van der sar as goal keeper, Patrice Evra as left back, Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand as central defense, Fabio da silva as right back, Ryan Giggs and Michael Carrick as central midfielders, Valencia and Park-Ji-Sung as wingers, Wayne Rooney as attacking midfielder, and Javier Hernandez as center forward played a 4-4-1-1 formation. Pep Guardiola came up with one change in the line-up in the semifinals second leg against Real Madrid. As he is not 100% fit, Carlos Puyol was replaced by Eric Abidal. Victor Valdes as goal keeper, Eric Abidal as left back, Javier Mascherano and Gerrard Pique as central defense, Dani Alves as right back, Andres Iniesta, Sergio Busquets, and Xavi Hernandez as midfielders, and David Villa, Lionel Messi and Pedro as forward played a 4-3-3 formation.

Manchester United dominated the first ten minutes of the match. Valdes came front couple of times clearing the ball himself thwarting United’s efforts. For the next twenty minutes, it was a magnificent possession from the Barca players. Hardly did they give the ball to the United players. At the 27th minute, Xavi was in a position to supply all the three of his strikers, and he passed to Pedro, the toughest call among the three. The pass was very perfect that it released Pedro to face Van der sar alone. Pedro finished it with a clinical strike to put the Catalans on lead. United were aroused and the next five minutes, they were desperately trying to get back into the game. Hernandez was caught offside so frequently falling into the offside trap set by the Barca defense. At the 34th minute, Rooney did a one-two with Giggs and scored a stunning goal to put the Red Devils back into competition. In the remaining 10 minutes, it was again the domination of the catalans, but they were unable to put their team into lead again. Barcelona enjoyed 2/3rd of the possession in the first half of the game.

In the first ten minutes of the second half, the central defense of Barcelona made their way front to try changing the play. Their efforts were successfully thwarted by Edwin Vandersar, who ultimately succumbed to Messi at 54th minute. Lionel Messi took a short pass from Iniesta and took a shot, 2o yards away from the goal, which went past the outstretched Vandersar. That was a magnificent strike and an unstoppable one and an unexpected one too. Barcelona usually don’t score long range goals. Then the play goes bad with some tense moments in the midfield which ended with both Alves and Carrick picking up yellow cards. Again there was domination from Barcelona. Vandersar did all he can to prevent Barcelona finishing the game till Villa scored a screamer in the 70th minute to seal the victory. Messi dribbled four United players, leaving the ball to Busquets. Busquets short-passed to Villa, who slotted in the ball perfectly. The United backline wasn’t as effective as they were thought. The rest of the match didn’t have any impact on the match.

The result was not a surprise to many. But United could’ve done better to stop Barcelona from winning easily. Chicharito was seen nowhere in the majority of the game. In the first half, the Catalan’s offside trap worked well with him. Giggs and Carrick couldn’t stop Xavi and Iniesta from supplying the strikers with a lot of chances. The deadly midfield combo outpaced the United’s midfield. This is where it mattered the most. Unless you play well in the midfield against Barcelona, you can’t win. And to the dismay of the midfielders, the defense line of United was still worse. Vidic made a couple of good saves, but he wasn’t able to take control of the back line. Neither did Ferdinand. Van der sar and Rooney were the best players for United in this match. Van der sar decreased the Catalan goal count and Rooney increased the United goal count. If not for these players, the score line would’ve gone to 5-0 like Barcelona-Real Madrid match this year.

For Barcelona, the match was won on the midfield with a rigid support from the defense by Mascherano and Pique and a sharp attack line. Alves threatened the United defense then and there. Valdes supported the offside trap by Barca defense well with a couple of saves out of the penalty box. All the three attackers scored one goals each and sealed the game. Overall it was a wonderful finals.

This loss meant more to the United manager. He was made to admit that his team is not the best team. And its true! Just because all the premier league clubs are not on top form, United were seen as a great team. Now, with Van der sar leaving the club, Fergie should set things back right. Before other Premier League clubs wake up! And before he puts an end to his career!

The strategy of Barca to shoot from long range worked well. And the man behind this strategy, Pep Guariola won the second Champions League as a manager in his third season as a coach. No one would ask for anything better. He has done almost all that could be done to Barca, and it would be great if he moves on to a different country’s league for a new challenge.

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The finals of the Europe’s most prestigious football tournament will be played this Saturday at Wembley stadium in London. We shall witness the Champions of England, Manchester United, and the Champions of Spain, Barcelona, fight for the European Crown. Both the sides have previously met in the 2008-09 Champions League final and the Catalans have won it by 2-0. United will be eying to take revenge for that loss.

Manchester United began the season at Wembley with a win over Chelsea in FA Community Shield. A win at Wembley to end the season would be dream-come-true season for United, after having outrun Liverpool in the race of the number of league titles conquered. Barcelona won their third consecutive league title winning a whooping 30 matches out of the possible 38, losing only 2 games. The Catalans will be poised to win their fourth champions league title.

It is going to be a duel between Sir Alex Ferguson and Pep Guardiola. Fergie obviously has an edge over Guardiola, his wisdom from managing United for 24 years will not be paralleled by anyone. United squad is not so great this season. Still they managed to lift the title with the help of the master tactician at the bench. Though the lack of tough competing teams in English Premier League this season is attributed to United’s success, Fergie’s efforts shouldn’t be belittled. Pep, though a novice in managing a football club, is largely successful with winning 3 league titles and 1 champions league title. Pep, might not survive with other football clubs, but Pep plus Barca squad is a lethal combination.

The red devils might play with 4-5-1 formation tonight with their notable summer signing Javier Hernandez as a lone striker. Ryan Giggs, Wayne Rooney and Nani might occupy the front line of the midfield while Carrick and Park-Ji-Sung/Paul Scholes might stand behind the front liners. In the center of the defense will be the mighty Nemanja Vidic and Ferdinand combination with Rafael Da Silva and Evra in the wings. Van der sar, playing his last match for Manchester United, will be playing between the sticks. The catalans meanwhile might opt for their usual 4-3-3 formation. David Villa, Lionel Messi and Pedro will be in the three pronged attack line with Xavi, Iniesta and Sergio Busquets showering them with passes from the midfield. The wings of the back line might be taken by Dani Alves and Eric Abidal whereas the central defense will see Puyol and former United prodigy, Gerrard Pique in action. Valdes will be the goalkeeper.

As far the squad is concerned, Barcelona have a clear cut edge over Manchester United. Attacking line of Barca is one of the best in the world right now. Pedro, Messi and Villa have totally scored 95 goals in this season, whereas the entire Manchester United squad have scored only 110 goals. In midfield too, United can’t match Barca. But, if ManU are to win the match, they have to cut the Barca’s midfield-attack link as much as possible with its midfield. Defence of United is paralled by that of Barca. But, Van Der Sar between the sticks is a big advantage for United. His experience might come in handy to help thwart Barca’s attack.

If United were to go for an entirely attacking approach in this match, it will end up in a tragedy for them. The best way for them to play is to block the balls at Barca midfield and then attack whenever they get a chance. Barca will be playing their usual flair free-flowing attacking football. If they are to succeed in getting an early-goal, its difficult for United to come back into the game. Barcelona are the favorites for this match, but there is always a possibility for United to take revenge on Barca as anything can happen in football.

P.S. from Sudarsan: Arsenal F.C. is the only club to defeat both these champions league finalists in this season.

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