Guardiola vs Mourinho: Who is doing better at new team?

Posted by -12 games into English Premier League season, how do the highly famed managers, Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho, at their new teams stack up against each other?

As football fans, in particular gloomy British people in post-Brexit era, were eagerly waiting for English Premier league season to kick-off, they were in particular excited to witness the old rivalry of Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho for the first in their hood.

Pep Guardiola, best known for his tiki-taka passing and possession-based winning philosophy, have crossed countries in recent years; After winning all the records and trophies with Barcelona, he took helm of Bundesliga Champions, Bayern Munich. Although he implemented his attractive football mindset with Bavarians, he did not match his predecessor’s outstanding records with Bayern Munich. Then came Manchester United and Manchester City’s offers, and Guardiola opted for Mansour Bin Zayed’s Manchester City.

At the same time, Manchester United was still struggling in post-Ferguson era, with Van Gaal’s confusing substitutions, constant tactical changes and the locker room’s dismay. A man who can motivate the squad with winning attitude, put egos in-check, and actually win the games. That description usually calls for Jose Mourinho;  And that’s when Manchester United knocked on former Chelsea manager’s door. Mourinho had been dismissed shortly after his second-spell at Chelsea, but overall he has experience of rejuvenating many struggling teams during his career.

And with missing out on Champions League spot for 2nd time in 3 seasons, and with no title Championship in sight, Manchester United fit the category of a struggling team.

This is the story of how Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho became league competitors again in one country. Previously having spats at Spanish league’s Barcelona and Real Madrid, this time, both managers are literally neighbours, living in the same city.

So, for the purpose of this article, I am going to compare the two famed managers’ performance head-to-head 12 weeks into the English Premier League so far. To have extensive comparison, here are metrics that the managers are being tracked against:

  • Transfer Market Expenditure – How much they spent on players’ transfer, upon their appointment
  • Points earned – Number of points earned by their team so far, in the last 12 games.
  • Average goals scored – Average goals scored in the last 12 games.
  • Average goals conceded – Average goals conceded in the last 12 games.
  • Bounce back rate – A metric used to measure manager’s effectiveness in Half time, and whether the team bounces back to tie or win the game, after falling behind.
  • Jose Mourinho’s results compare to his predecessor, Van Gaal’s record in the first 12 games of the season.
  • Pep Guardiola’s results compare to his predecessor, Manuel Pellegrini ‘s in the first 12 games of the season.

Each point is displayed with charts.

Head-to-head findings:

  1. In terms of spending spree, Jose Mourinho had spending of 185M Euro at Manchester United, while Pep Guardiola spent 181M Euro. So, very close rate when it came to spending spree.

    Mourinho and Guardiola Summer transfer expenditure
  2. In terms of points earned so far, Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City team outpaces Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United by 8 points.
  3. Pep Guardiola’s team also is ranked in 3rd spot, compare to Jose Mourinho’s 6th spot so far.
  4. Guardiola’s team is still unbeaten at home, and interestingly have gained more points in away games than home games, so far. Manchester City has earned 16 points in away games and 12 points at home. Mourinho’s team though has earned as much points in away games as home games, with 10 points in away games and 9 points in home games. And they have lost once in home games, against Manchester City actually.
  5. Average goals scored by Guardiola’s Manchester City team is 37% higher than Mourinho’s Manchester United team, so far into the season.On the contrary, average goals conceded by Mourinho’s Manchester United team is 27% higher than Guardiola’s Manchester City team, so far; Which shows the defensive struggles Mourinho has to grapple with.Guardiola vs Mourinho
  6. Bounce rate, as in the team’s capability to bounce back after conceding a goal and secure a draw or victory, was non-existence or 0% in Manchester United’s case. 4 times during their 12 games, Manchester United fell behind opponent, and in neither occasion, they could bounce back and secure a draw or victory by 90-minute mark.In contrary, at Manchester City, Pep Guardiola has proven to be more successful in motivating his squad after falling behind in the game.  Overall, Manchester City team could change the score line in 5 occasions. Bounce Back Ratio (%)
  7. Compared to predecessors’:In the first 12 games of the season, Jose Mourinho, compare to Van Gaal has earned 5 fewer points, with 2 fewer victories than Van Gaal’s.  The average goal scored is in par with Van Gaal’s. But under Van Gaal, in the first 12 games, Red Devils conceded 50% fewer goals than they did under Mourinho’s team, so far.    At the same time, compared to his predecessor Manuel Pellegrini, Pep Guardiola’s team is almost in par in terms of points, same number of victories, with 1 fewer loss, compare to first 12 matches of last season.Mourinho- Van Gaal
  8.  Pep Guardiola’s team has a mere 4% higher average goal ratio than Manuel Pellegrini’s. But Guardiola’s team falls short in terms of conceded goals. His predecessor’s team were in average 18% more solid in defense, by conceding fewer goals, than Guardiola’s team.Guardiola- Pellegrini

Overall, based on data above, the famed Manchester United is falling behind Manchester City in terms of team ranking, defensive record and home games. Manchester United is also particularly vulnerable in capability in bouncing back in the game after falling behind, which is a great advantage for opponents.

It is not matter of which of the two coaches is superior, but data proves Guardiola has done better at his new team than Mourinho. And if Mourinho does not improve the defensive flaws, current team ranking and bounce back rate, they may well end up in current 6th spot by the end of the season and once again miss out on Champions League qualification. Even though, that scenario will most likely come at the expense of Mourinho’s job.


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