Pep Guardiola vs Jose Mourinho – A Football Manager Simulation!

Jose Mourinho (left) and Pep Guardiola (right) on the touchline. (


Since Pep Guardiola got his first job in English football with Manchester City in 2016 and Jose Mourinho joined Manchester United in the same year, the old rivalry when Pep managed Barcelona and Jose managed Real was reignited. However, this was no longer in Spain but to the ‘best league in the world,’ the Premier League.

Josep has been regarded by some as a ‘chequebook manager’ with the spending which has been made at Manchester City consequently built up a record breaking team in remarkable time. On the other hand, the ‘Special One’ Jose Mourinho has been known in recent times to favour a defensive style of play at Manchester United commonly known as ‘parking the bus.’

What would happen if both managers swapped jobs?

Well, this is where Football Manager comes into play as Pep Guardiola will be taking charge of Manchester United and Jose Mourinho will be heading to the blue side of Manchester for a season.

May 2018

Here comes the interesting part as I have simulated a season to see how both managers have got on at their respective clubs. Could Jose lead Manchester City to the title? Or will it be the former Barcelona man taking all the glory?

Premier League:

Funnily enough, neither Pep or Jose managed to claim the Premier League title as United finished second ahead of City in third. It was the red side of North London who won the Premier League. Despite Arsenal winning the Premier League by a minuscule point, Pep managed to finish ahead of Jose Mourinho by two points.


The final Premier League table.

Carabao Cup:

Potentially the least important honour for both clubs, was also won by none. Arsenal completed the double as they defeated Pep Guardiola’s Manchester United in the final on penalties. Pep Guardiola managed to make it to the final after beating Manchester City 5-3 on aggregate. Is Mourinho the specialist in failure? You could certainly make a claim for that with the way this simulation is going so far…


Manchester United being denied their first piece of silverware due.


The semi finals of the Carabao Cup.


FA Cup:

Finally a piece of silverware in this simulation heading for Manchester! Jose Mourinho managed to win the FA Cup after defeating Tottenham 1-0 thanks to a Dries Mertens goal in the 9th minute. Pep got knocked out in the third round after an embarrassing 4-0 loss to finalists Tottenham at Old Trafford. Shocker.


Manchester United being embarrassed by Tottenham after being eliminated from the FA Cup.


Manchester City winning the FA Cup after beating Tottenham by a single goal.


Champions League:

This will come as a shock to many, but after both Manchester clubs topped their groups with ease, Manchester City walked past Roma in the first knockout round meanwhile United only just defeated the 2004 winners of the competition, FC Porto. In the quarter finals, both sides faced European superpowers with United beating arguably the best side in world football, Real Madrid. Furthermore, The Cityzens convincingly beat the German champions Bayern Munich. On to the semis as City faced Barcelona and United faced PSG. All four sides could’ve easily won the Champions League however only two could go through to the final… it just so happened to be that the Manchester clubs would face each other in the final for the world’s greatest club competition! The blue side of Manchester won 2-1 on aggregate against Barcelona and United won 3-2 on aggregate against PSG. The final in Kiev beckons.

The final of arguably the toughest competition in the world, the Champions League. As expected, the game was a tight and nervy affair with the original 90 minutes ending at 0-0. Extra time would be required. Despite the first half of extra time resulting in no goals, a man no stranger to important goals against big sides steps up just two minutes after the start of the second half of extra time. Marcus Rashford puts Pep Guardiola’s men 1-0 up with 13 minutes left… will United hold on to their lead and make it a 4th Champions League win? Or will Jose Mourinho claw back the tie and win Manchester City their first Champions League trophy? Unfortunately for City fans it was the former rather than the latter, as Pep masterminded a Champions League win for his new Manchester United team.


An all English final as Manchester United win the Champions League.


How did Pep Guardiola win the Champions League with a team often portrayed in the media as ‘not good enough’? Or Jose Mourinho take on a side used to ‘tiki taka’ football?

Pep Guardiola’s Manchester United team operated with a 4-1-2-3 system with David De Gea being a mainstay in the United goal. In front of the Spanish goalkeeper was Antonio Valencia who created 20 chances from right back, Eric Bailly, Victor Lindelof who obtained three assists from centre back and Luke Shaw who had a disappointing season for United’s standards by only getting one assist and creating nine chances…

Ahead of the best defence in the Premier League last season by only conceding 33 goals, was Nemanja Matic. The Serbian was pivotal for the Red Devil’s attacking play by creating the most chances (63) and getting the most assists throughout the squad (13) another point is that the 29 year old averaged over 5.5 tackles per game leading to the fact he was a big factor as to why United conceded the least goals. Ahead of the Serbian was Paul Pogba, the French playmaker started 35/38 games in the Premier League and managed to score eight goals and create six assists. A concerning factor to United’s record signing is the fact he picked up 12 yellow cards although there was no red cards for the 25 year old. Starting alongside Pogba in the midfield trio was predominantly Ander Herrera, the Spanish midfielder finished the season on 26 League appearances, however in only 22 starts the 28 year old managed to get himself sent off three times!

On the right wing, was Juan Mata, he had United’s best average rating of the season with 7.62. The former Chelsea midfielder bagged himself 11 goals and also created 11 assists throughout the season. With five man of the match awards, Juan Mata was a key factor in United’s success. To the left of the tricky playmaker, was Alexis Sanchez. Controversially, Pep Guardiola tried to lure him to the blue side of Manchester in January 2018 however opted to Jose’s Red Devil’s… nonetheless, the Chilean was also effective with him scoring 13 goals and getting himself 10 assists. Despite the overall goal contributions being better than Juan Mata, it must be noted that Alexis played 10 more games than Mata during the course of the Premier League season. Regardless, the 29 year old enjoyed a fruitful first full season at Manchester United.

Leading the Red Devil’s front line is a big task with the likes of Robin Van Persie and Wayne Rooney doing the business in recent years, however the task was now laid down to Romelu Lukaku. The Belgian managed to score 17 goals and get 1 assist, largely thanks to the likes of Nemanja Matic, Juan Mata and Alexis Sanchez supplying Lukaku with opportunities to score. Furthermore, the 25 year old managed to score six times in Europe this season leading United to a Champions League trophy!


Manchester United’s squad screen.

You’ve seen how Pep Guardiola operated his Manchester United side, however how did Jose Mourinho lead his Manchester City team?

Jose Mourinho operated his City side with a 4-2-3-1 formation with the Brazilian shot stopper Ederson in goal, Ederson managed to keep 13 clean sheets and only conceded 28 goals throughout the season. At right back is Kyle Walker, the explosive wing back managed to get three goal contributions from the right hand side of the pitch with a goal and two assists. Doing the same duty but on the left hand side was Jose Gaya, a summer signing made by Mourinho. The Spanish wing back got four goal contributions with one goal and three assists. Although both full backs enjoyed good seasons under The Special One. In the centre of defence, was Aymeric Laporte and Nicolas Otamendi. Laporte made an average of five tackles per game compared to Otamendi’s 4.77 tackles per game.

Ahead of the back four, was Fernandinho and Kevin De Bruyne. As expected, Fernandinho did the defensive duties with 3.33 tackles per game. However the Brazilian also got himself three goals and six assists from central midfield. Unsurprisingly, Kevin De Bruyne lead the team in goal creation. The world class Belgian managed to get 12 goals only behind by 3 goals to Sergio Aguero, furthermore Kevin De Bruyne also got himself 16 assists and created 97 chances. The latter two stats the highest throughout the team.

Ahead of the midfield duo, was Bernardo Silva on the right hand side. The former AS Monaco winger enjoyed a superb first season in English football by not appearing at all in only one game this season for the Cityzens. With 11 goals and six assists, the Portuguese man certainly benefited from his fellow country man leading the side judging by his effectiveness the season he’s had at Manchester City. On the left was Dries Mertens, another summer signing from Jose Mourinho. The Belgian winger scored the highest on the average rating score with 7.55 higher than any other Manchester City player. The 31 year old scored 10 times however only got two assists. In the centre of the two wingers, was David Silva. The Spanish playmaker had a superb effect for City going forward with nine assists and six goals in 33 games. Furthermore, David Silva created 80 chances for his fellow teammates.

Leading the line for Manchester City was no other than the clubs record goalscorer, Sergio Aguero. The Argentinian managed to score 15 goals in the Premier League this season in 30 games. A goal every two games on average. However, in all competitions, Sergio managed to score 21 goals in 42 starts. Pretty impressive.


Manchester City’s squad screen.


When a manager joins a new club, they will have their own ideas on how to build their team. A way of doing this is signing new players and selling ones surplus to requirements, a method no stranger to any football fan. So how did Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho mold their squad?


Manchester United’s transfers.

Manchester United only made one first team signing being the Brazilian midfielder Fred. The 25 year old had a limited impact on the Premier League by starting only 13 times this season. They also signed Fabrizio Caligara from Cagliari however he didn’t make a first team appearance this season but instead played in United’s U23 team.

Manchester City on the other hand played a bigger part in the transfer window than United did with the arrival of no fewer than four first team signings. Jose Gaya was signed from Valencia to fill in for the injured Benjamin Mendy and did the job reasonably well. Dries Mertens also joined the club for a remarkably small fee of 26.5 million pounds considering his ability and impact this season. Miguel Almorion and Jack Wilshere we’re both also signed but had a minuscule impact on City’s season.


Manchester City’s transfers.

With the conclusion of the season, both managers enjoyed relatively successful first seasons. Manchester United’s Champions League win and Manchester City’s FA Cup win show that both Jose and Pep are capable of winning silverware with each other’s teams. Who do you think did the better job overall?

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