Yet Another Clash Ahead
The clash tomorrow, between Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspurs, will offer another story to tell, add a few lines to the positively dazzling chapters of the Premier League record books, and, above all, elucidate more on the ever-intensifying managerial battle between two of the league’s most revered coaches: José Mourinho and Mauricio Pochettino.
One is Portuguese, the other Argentinian; one is loquacious and often abrasive, the other is untalkative and reserved; one cunningly understands that attacks offer best defense, the other seldom respond to even direct attacks towards him; one is effective at using war of words and playing with the psychology of his opponents and mostly revivals to defeat them, the other seems to rely more on on-pitch and on-touchlines ingenuity to reap the victory he wants; one seems to care less about establishing a long and stable relationship with any club he manages, the other puts faith in long-term development with a strong and stable relationship with his clubs; finally, one manages Man United, the other Spurs, two clubs with a long history of rivalry—if not enmity.
Yet, they both share the common denominator of craving for victories, victories, and victories! They are friendly rivals or, more exactly, rival friends: they mutually acknowledge each other’s place in the exclusive managerial world and generally share kind words.
As if history keeps repeating itself in his world, Mourinho is, yet again, under fire and growing pressure on his third year at Man United. And tomorrow’s derby will either provide him with air to breathe or suffocate him even more. A victory is needed, and he knows it, and he wants it. But he cannot guarantee anyone, himself included, that he will get it, though he has a long and consistent history of winning big games. That’s exactly why he is so reviled and respected.
That is, one may hate him for whom is—arrogant, self-import, bravado, brash, uncompromising, and whatnot—but one has to bow before his monstrous success or, simply, be envious…