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Man City Chief Explains In Detail Why He And Barca Hired Guardiola Ahead Of Mourinho

Man City Chief Explains In Detail Why He And Barca Hired Guardiola Ahead Of Mourinho
By Gavan Casey

Incoming Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola will resume his bitter rivalry with José Mourinho next season a full eight years after he pipped the Portuguese to the Barcelona post.

Ferran Soriano and Txiki Begiristain - then part of the 'upstairs' team at Barcelona, now chief executive and director of football at City - entrusted Guardiola with the fate of a golden generation of players rather than Mourinho - a decision which paid off in spades with two Champions League trophies in four years.

In his book, ‘Goal: The ball doesn’t go into the net by chance,’ Soriano describes how the choice of who would be Barca’s next manager came down to a straight battle between two men, who will now face off in Manchester:

Both had great virtues and they seemed to be at opposite ends of an imaginary scale. At the one end we had an experienced coach, who was successful, with a strong personality, and a controversial reputation.

At the other end was a very talented person, who was totally familiar with the club, but without significant experience as a coach.

Soriano explains in the book how Begiristain and other influential figures drew up a nine-point plan in order to decide which of the candidates would best suit the Camp Nou hot seat, and it was point six which drew a red flag on the more experienced Mourinho - a point which revolved around a manger's relationship with the media and match officials:

  • The coach is one of the club’s permanent, weekly representatives.

  • He must act cautiously at all times.

  • Respect opponents, referees and other institutions in general - fair play.

  • He must not abuse the media or create false controversy, but focus on the relevant aspects of the game and how the team is doing.

Soriano revealed that Begiristain and vice chairman Marc Ingla interviewed Mourinho in Lisbon, but after a PowerPoint presentation from the former Chelsea boss, they had concerns:

The Portuguese coach’s method generated media conflict almost permanently and it was also a potential source of conflict within the club.

Guardiola chooses to work with 14 or 15 players that have his total confidence. The end result is a very stable playing style and a changing room that doesn’t harbour much conflict.

Mourinho assumes the task of managing his players’ egos in exchange for having that much talent at his disposal is complex.

Soriano went on to write about his fascination but disagreement with the new Manchester United boss' approach, and suggested that if Mourinho didn't change his managerial style he would never remain at one club for a lengthy period of time, and stated that "Mourinho's case will be extremely interesting to the analysts of the future."

Soriano's book was published in 2009 - before much of Guardiola's success. Seven years on, and respective spells at Real Madrid and Chelsea later, it remains to be seen if Mourinho will change his tact in the Old Trafford dugout, or if he'll be presenting a Power Point in Paris two years down the road.

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