The secгet helps Man City boss Pep Guardiola create many excellent ‘disciples’, but Sir Alex does not

Referring to Pep Guardiola’s “disciples” in the football world as a coach. Many of them have been successful and have made a name for themselves. Meanwhile, the opposite happened to Sir Alex Ferguson – the legendary coach of Man Utd.

Mikel Arteta, Xabi Alonso, Xavi Hernandez or Vincent Kompany are all considered “disciples” of Pep Guardiola. Their common point is that they all gather ideas as well as imbibe Pep’s football philosophy, thereby applying it to the club they are leading.

Arteta helped Arsenal transform when becoming rivals of Man City in the Premier League last season. Alonso also gathered success at Leverkusen, sending the team into the semi-finals of the Europa League. Xavi won La Liga with Barca, and Kompany resonated when helping Burnley win the Championship to win promotion tickets to play in the English Premier League in the 2023/24 season.

Not surprisingly, Kompany pointed out that he and his three colleagues Alonso, Xavi and Arteta did not only learn from Pep. The Burnley captain insists they all have had different experiences throughout their lives. Kompany is right. It would be insulting to consider any of them a copy of Guardiola.

Each has its own personality. No one wants to be seen as a version of “Guardiola II”. But, Kompany accepts the view, he and many other coaches are deeply influenced by Pep. How are the four coaches who worked under Pep all starting to succeed on the coaching path? It’s certainly not a coincidence.

Meanwhile, take a look at Sir Alex Ferguson. Everyone admits Fergie is one of the greatest coaches in football history. What this legendary coach did for MU in particular and English football in general has become a legacy that lives on with time.


However, how many “disciples” of Sir Alex have successfully embarked on a coaching career? Gary Neville, Roy Keane, Paul Ince, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer or Mark Hughes? No one. Most are quickly dying or just mid-level like Hughes – who currently leads Bradford City club in England’s fourth division. Both are great coaches, but why do Guardiola and Sir Alex have so different students?

The answer lies in the way these two coaches operate at the team. In the language of international football, people distinguish very clearly between the coach (Coach) and the manager (Manager). When looking at many of the most successful managers in English football history, they often worked closely with other managers and were not always a tactician.

Sir Alex is exactly that type. He plays the role of a manager, someone who provides a long-term vision for the club. Ferguson has a tendency to work from a human perspective, both as a teacher and as a father, using his own capital to make his students ready to do their best.

In other words, Sir Alex represents the school of coaches who have won the heart, not too much on the philosophy of playing football, but focusing on the human factor, the spirit and the ability to flexibly deploy troops. That’s why Sir Alex can hold MU with players Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Jonny Evans, Ashley Young or Tom Cleverley winning the 2011/12 Premier League.

That is the talent, and at the same time, a unique quality of Sir Alex that no one can learn. Brian Clough is considered the great manager of Nottingham Forest, but the tactical genius at this club in the late 1980s was Peter Taylor. Besides Sir Alex there are always great assistants and coaches, such as Steve McClaren, who will carry out his vision in coaching.


Guardiola is different. He holds both the role of coach and manager wherever he goes. The 52-year-old military leader constantly explores, delves into tactical techniques and soon realizes the change of the king sport. “My skills haven’t diminished,” said Pep back in 2004, when he realized the role of a playmaker was receding into extinction.

“It’s just that football is different now. Now, to play in front of four defenders, you have to be the one to win the ball, tackle the ball like Patrick Vieira or Edgar Davids. If you can pass the ball too that’s a plus point. “. In a sense, Pep is a prophet. Claude Makelele has helped Chelsea win two consecutive Premier League titles, even having a role named after the former midfielder.

Obviously, when being around, interacting and working with Pep, people like Xavi, Arteta, Kompany or even Erik ten Hag are enlightened. Guardiola doesn’t hesitate to instruct them, provide them with a fishing rod, and Sir Alex is not the type of coach to explain to his players why they are doing what they are doing. Both are great coaches, but it is clear that there is still a big difference in thinking and perception about football.

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