Success, some say, is based upon the most recent results, and, if true, neither Mourinho or Guardiola are having much of it. That said, Pep finds himself at the top of the league, which is a strange situation to find oneself in, and still come in for dog’s abuse. Is it because of his players? The perception the media has of him? Or simply how he conducts himself with interviews and pre/post match pressers? Whatever the reason, again, and I cannot stress this enough, he is top of the Premier League.
Now look at Mourinho and the pressure the media is giving him – actually they are doing – but he cannot point to any kind of success at the moment as United currently sit in 7th, a full five points outside the Champion’s League spots (six if you include the miserly +1 goal difference).
Either way, both men need a win tonight in the League Cup, and Jose probably needs it more to be fair. Yes, this competition may sit at the bottom in regards to importance, but Mourinho needs something substantial to point at, and what better way to do so than not only win a match, but beat City at home, and beat Guardiola as well. Yes, this might seem a tad petty, but this is essentially what it has already come to: beat the Blue half of Manchester and get one over an adversary. But will he?
Is Jose likely to leave Pogba and Ibrahimovic off the starting XI? And will he shore up the midfield knowing how outclassed United were – especially in the first half – of the 1-2 defeat at the hands of City in September? But then the same could be asked of Guardiola (although he will undoubtedly utilise Caballero, and may even bring in a couple of Academy lads). Fortunately for both clubs, they have winnable matches on Saturday in the league with United at home to Burnley, and City away to West Brom.
If Pep loses, the media will continue with their unwarranted bashing, but should Jose lose, it will be an absolute unmitigated disaster; he simply has to get this one spot on. The bookies, however, are universally going for an away win, but a close one. I just hope it doesn’t go to penalties …