Man City: Pep Guardiola named best Premier League manager ever, but he still has 10 titles behind Fergie

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Robbie Savage is no stranger to driving people the wrong way, but he outdid himself by letting Rio Ferdinand spit feathers on his statement that Pep Guardiola is ‘the best manager I’ve seen in the Premier League’.

Manchester United great Ferdinand immediately sneered, before going back to Savage: “You have to get your coat for that.”

He didn’t even mention the big man’s name, but his position in the English game was such that it was clear that Ferdinand was referring to Sir Alex Ferguson, the man who took him to United in 2002 and helped him win six Premier League titles. to win. Champions League in its 12 years at Old Trafford.

Pep Guardiola (left) embraces Sir Alex Ferguson for the 2011 Champions League final

Rio Ferdinand (left) disagreed with Robbie Savage (right) about Guardiola and Ferguson

Rio Ferdinand (left) disagreed with Robbie Savage (right) about Guardiola and Ferguson

Savage clarified his statement by saying he was considering Guardiola’s overall record ‘in Barcelona, ​​at Bayern, now at Manchester City’, where he has just won his third title in five years with the club. The Welshman then claimed that if he won the Champions League with City later this month, Guardiola would be ‘possibly the best (manager) ever’.

Whatever the question, the comparison between Ferguson and Guardiola is fascinating.

PREMIER LEAGUE RECORD

It is highly unlikely that anyone will ever beat Ferguson’s record 13 Premier League titles, as his Manchester United team peaked just in time for the start of the new league in 1992. He won the first two editions, four of the first five , seven of the first nine and twice won three in a row – an achievement that Pep missed last season.

However, in an era of shorter terms of office – Pep’s five years at City is long in the context of the modern Premier League and certainly his own career – it is unfair to look at the number of titles alone when comparing the two. Despite signing a new two-year deal in November, Guardiola is highly unlikely to get even close to half of Ferguson’s 21 season and 810 Premier League appearances, so it might be fairer to look at averages instead .

Ferguson poses with the last of the 13 Premier League titles he won in 2013

Ferguson poses with the last of the 13 Premier League titles he won in 2013

Guardiola compares favorably with Ferguson, both in terms of win percentage and goals per game. He has won 73.8 percent of his 187 Premier League games to date, compared to Ferguson’s 65.1 percent. Another sign of how dominant Guardiola has been is the average of 2.43 goals per season, which is significantly higher than Ferguson United’s 2. Intriguingly, however, the pair are at 0.6 even in terms of titles per season.

That means that if Guardiola hypothetically stayed with City for 21 years, he would also win 13 titles. That Ferguson was able to achieve sustained success over such a long period, despite a lower win rate and goal average than Pep’s City, is testament to the combatant nature of his teams, whose titles often came after a long battle against a rival – much like Pep’s win over Liverpool in 2019.

SIR ALEX FERGUSON v PEP GUARDIOLA IN THE PREMIER LEAGUE
Premier League record Sir Alex Ferguson Pep Guardiola
Matches 810 187
Seasons 21 5
Titles 13 3
Wins 528 138
Draws 168 23
To lose 114 26
Goals 1.627 455
Granted 703 150
Goals per game 2 2.43
Win percentage 65.1 73.8
Titles by season 0.6 0.6

FOR THE PREMIER LEAGUE

Coming from vastly different backgrounds in Glasgow and Barcelona, ​​it makes sense that Ferguson and Guardiola had completely different paths to the Premier League.

Although Ferguson enjoyed a decent career in Scotland, his name was not well known outside the country and he led for 12 years before taking the job at United in 1986. After a short spell at East Stirlingshire in 1974, he led St Mirren to the Scottish. top flight over a four-year period, which landed him the job in Aberdeen, where he really excelled.

Ferguson broke the Glasgow duopoly in his eight years with Pittodrie to win three league titles, the European Cup Winners’ Cup and five national cups. United poached him after just a year on the track in Scotland, although he famously struggled in his first few years at Old Trafford, nearly getting fired and not taking a trophy until the 1990 FA Cup. By 1992, however, after 18 years as a manager, he had transformed United and was ready to dominate English football for two decades.

Ferguson celebrates the first of three Scottish titles he won with Aberdeen in 1980

Ferguson celebrates the first of three Scottish titles he won with Aberdeen in 1980

Guardiola’s journey to the Premier League was much shorter and a tad more glamorous. Appointed boss of Barcelona B in 2007, he won Spain’s third tier in his freshman year as manager and the club had seen enough to land him the top job. Their gamble immediately paid off, with Pep winning the Treble in its first season. It took Ferguson 25 years to win the Champions League, Pep did it in two – although arguably that says as much about the opportunities they got as it does about their management abilities.

After four years and nine major trophies, Guardiola got itchy feet and moved to Bayern Munich after a year-long sabbatical. In Germany, he won three consecutive league titles, but was unable to win a third Champions League and left for City in 2016.

Again, given the vast difference in their career time spans, averages are the best way to compare each manager’s overall record. Includes lower league titles to St Mirren and Barcelona B, but not including trophies requiring only one win to be victorious – Community Shields and Super Cups – Ferguson has won 36 against Guardiola’s 24. Guardiolas, however, come at a staggering rate of one per 30.8 games, while Ferguson takes 59.8.

SIR ALEX FERGUSON AND THE GENERAL DOCUMENTS OF PEP GUARDIOLA
All in all Sir Alex Ferguson Pep Guardiola
Teams 5 4
Matches 2155 740
Wins 1,253 541
Win percentage 58.1 73.1
Trophies 36 24
Matches by trophy 59.8 30.8
Guardiola lifts the German Cup in his last game as manager of Bayern Munich in May 2016

Guardiola lifts the German Cup in his last game as manager of Bayern Munich in May 2016

PRAGMATISM vs PERFECTIONISM

Whoever you love, there’s no denying that both Ferguson and Guardiola have had a huge impact on football in this country.

Savage made the valid point that Guardiola’s style of football has had a tremendous effect on the way the game is played, with more emphasis on ball possession at every level due to the success of his teams. “I’ve never seen anything like the way Premier League teams play to the ground, such as Manchester City,” he said.

Guardiola’s impact began before he even came to City, with his Barcelona team’s tiki-taka style taking the game by storm in the late 2000s. In a twist of fate, their two biggest triumphs – the Champions League final victories in 2009 and 2011 – both came against Ferguson’s United. It was the only times the two managers met.

Guardiola is celebrating the first of its three Premier League titles to date in 2018

Guardiola is celebrating the first of its three Premier League titles to date in 2018

Ferguson, too, is remembered for playing attacking football, although he was more of a pragmatist than Guardiola perfectionist. His early teams were known for getting the ball wide and scoring lots of goals from crosses, but they had evolved into more of a possession-based game by the time of his last few titles. Ferguson’s legacy is as much his dominant nature as the football his teams played.

While Guardiola appears confident that he will make it to Ferguson’s number of trophies by the end of his decade, he is unlikely to make it to the Scots’ 13 Premier League titles, much less likely he will be close. of his 39 years in management.

Ferguson will likely always be remembered as the Premier League’s best manager, but Guardiola will likely go down as the Premier League’s best manager.

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