Which Manager is Greater, Pep Guardiola or Sir Alex Ferguson?
After Man City’s 3rd EPL title in a row, debates about who is greater between Pep Guardiola and Sir Alex Ferguson have been going around the footballing world. Football enthusiasts, pundits, and fans who have been following live football scores on sites like Lottoland have engaged in this passionately contested topic, with everyone giving their own “expert” opinion.
John Redknapp, a former player, and Roy Keane, a former coach, are some notable figures to have taken part in this debate and seemingly support the notion that Pep is Greater than Ferguson.
Well, former Birmingham City and Sheffield United midfielder Curtis Woodhouse thinks that Ferguson may have been a huge success at Manchester United, but Pep is a better manager.
This write-up discusses the trophies, styles of play, team arrangement, and league records of Alex Ferguson and Pep Guardiola to paint a clear picture of this debate.
The English Premier League is Europe's highest point of league competition, and winning it in multiple seasons is a badge of honour on any manager’s lapel. Comparing who has the highest number of EPL titles between the two may just give us an idea of who is greater. Sir Alex Ferguson leads in this category by a huge margin.
Ferguson is credited with having led United to 13 Premier League victories in 27 years. Pep Guardiola recently claimed his 5th EPL title through English side Manchester City. This is less than half of what Ferguson achieved but good enough to rank him second in the list of managers with the most EPL titles.
For over four decades as a manager, Ferguson amassed 38 major titles, including five FA Cups, 13 EPL titles, the European Cup titles, four League Cups, the Intercontinental Cup, and the icing on the cake-FIFA Club World Cup.
Pep can boast 2 Champions League titles, 15 domestic cups, 11 domestic league titles, 3 FIFA Club World Cups, and 4 UEFA Super Cups.
While he ranks below Ferguson in the number of major titles, the Man City boss still exceeds Arsène Wenger and José Mourinho by two major league titles.
Style of Play
Pep and Ferguson have two very distinct styles of play, each having succeeded in its own way. The latter is a warrior raining unending front attacks until the opposition side buckles. The former is more of a backplay expert, using specific players to open the front and make it rain.
Under Ferguson's management, Man United was famous for capitalising on the front foot, which almost always gave them victory. Their most thrilling matches were the ones in which they were trailing only to launch a spirited counteroffensive and win against all odds. Ferguson believed in the front game, which gave him the most success in his long managerial career.
On the other hand, Pep loves positional play, often adopted by most world-class coaches. He guides the players to take certain positions, which, when used properly, create numerical advantages when passes are passed in diamond or triangular shapes. All players follow strict rules concerning their positions in relation to the opposition, their teammates, and the ball.
In summary, Pep is more of a tactician who loves things done in an orderly manner. Ferguson’s style of play didn’t follow any specific order, and the philosophy was to win. It's quite complicated to rank strategy against psychological warfare.
Manchester United will always remember Sir Alex Ferguson because of the dynasty of success and the glorious time he created for 27 years. His team of choice was built upon a skeleton of several players drawn from the Old Trafford Academy. Other than that, he needed no specific type of players to create a winning team.
The Scot was also blessed with a keen eye for talent, bringing on board and moulding some world-class players, including Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney.
In contrast, Pep prefers certain types of players who must fit into his cunning strategy or sit on the bench. He prefers to change player positions in every game and further shift them to tackle unforeseen challenges from the opposition during the match.
In this case, Pep seems better in the sense that he always has a plan up his sleeve that can be further customised to bring victory. Ferguson’s team arrangement was more random, which didn't matter, looking at his extensive achievements.
If you narrow it down to club performances per game, Guardiola has the most impressive Premier League record compared to Ferguson. Ferguson can boast an average of 2.16 points per game for 810 top-flight games. Guardiola boasts of an impressive average of 2.36 points per game.
Sir Alex Ferguson and Pep Guardiola have achieved incredible feats in their careers. However, Ferguson seems ahead of Pep by far in terms of trophies, although he is retired. In fact, Pep Guradiola feels that it’s an honour to be compared to Sir Alex Ferguson. Nonetheless, this debate is too close to call because Guardiola still has many years to retire.