Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United are preparing to contest Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City in the biggest clash of the season, the analytical preview has almost maxed out. Everyone in the Premier League, from fans to pundits and from managers to players, is having their say on the outcome of the Manchester Derby, the players on the pitch and even the managers. Peter Schmeichel, a legendary United goalkeeper, has also provided his opinion, reportedly stating that Guardiola is overrated, according to Sky Sports.
Guardiola, who has won 21 trophies in just seven years of coaching football, is not as highly regarded by Schmeichel as he is by everyone else, as the Danish goalkeeper believes he lucked out with the players at his disposal when he managed Barcelona. That being said, Schmeichel still credited Guardiola for his innovation in Catalonia.
“What he did with Barcelona was fantastic. He was very lucky he had the players at Barcelona but he was clever in what he did.”
On a related note, Schmeichel implied that Guardiola could struggle with the physicality and intense action of the Premier League, delving into the fatiguing nature of the league in comparison to other domestic leagues. Many believe that Guardiola is a shoo-in for massive success in the Premier League but Schmeichel doesn’t award him such plaudits.
“The Premier League is a completely different animal to any other in the world. It just goes on and on and on, you feel it never stops, even in March you have 12 games to go, you think will this ever stop?”
Schmeichel said that, while Guardiola’s Barcelona work was reputable, he didn’t fancy the two-time Champions League winner at Bayern Munich. The Danish goalkeeper said that he found Bayern very entertaining under Jupp Heynckes but Guardiola made them boring to watch, without retaining the same standard of football and triumph.
“He was okay at Bayern Munich. I have to say he was okay. For me, personally, he changed a really good, entertaining team to be become more boring to watch.”
Schmeichel, in a statement that will please United fans, favourably compared Sir Alex Ferguson’s philosophical views on football to Guardiola, who he believes prioritized the unimportant by being so indirect in his approach on the pitch. Ferguson’s typical strategy, putting the side in pole position to score goals, is slightly different to Guardiola’s.
“Whereas Alex Ferguson’s first priority was ‘we have to be able to score goals’ – for most coaches that’s the priority – with Pep its possession, I want to have as much possession as possible. So the philosophy goes to ‘I want to have so much possession that at some point we’ll score a goal from that, the goals will come from possession’ and that’s his philosophy.”
Schmeichel’s attitude is easy to understand. At Barcelona, Pep Guardiola merited from a Barcelona side that won the Champions League before the introduction of himself or Lionel Messi. At Bayern Munich, the only competitions he won were those in which Bayern were clear favourites, and he failed to reproduce the Champions League targets expected from him.
That being said, Guardiola is undoubtedly a very talented manager who seems to be doing a good job at Manchester City. With Mourinho’s success at United, many turned a blind eye to the blue side, with mirroring effect for them. On Saturday, though, two views will merge and one will emerge. Who will it be?