Two big names in the world of football, are managers Jose Mourinho and Brendan Rodgers. We wish the two "gaffers" a very happy birthday today, as Jose turns 54 and Brendan turns 44. Born exactly 10 years apart, the Irish and Portuguese managers have turned fortunes around for their clubs. Jose, it could be said, is a far more successful manager, owing to his experience, whereas Brendan is yet to add more achievements to his arsenal.
As manager, Brendan began at Watford (08-09) before going to Reading (09), Swansea City (10-12), Liverpool (12-15) and is currently at Celtic, since 2016. Jose started out at Benfica (01), then moved to Uniao de Leiria (01-02), Porto (02-04), Chelsea (04-07), Inter Milan (08-10), Real Madrid (10-13), Chelsea again (13-15) and now Manchester United, since last year. Ironically enough, Brendan was invited by Jose to join Chelsea as a youth manager in 2004, later being promoted to reserve manager in 2006.
The two have had a good relationship over the years. When Brendan left Liverpool, Jose was particularly affected by it and thought that he should have been given more time. He said, "You know, I feel sorry that somebody lost his job. I’m speaking about the circumstances that made Brendan lose his job. I don’t like people being excited that a new manager is coming. I don’t like a player to say: ‘Now, we are going to give extra to prove to the new manager.’ Give to Brendan! Not to the new manager."
Back when Liverpool would take on Chelsea, the two managers would turn rivals. Brendan commented on their relationship: "We probably don’t have as much contact now but the respect has not left. The opportunity to work with him in that period of three-and-a-bit years was invaluable to me and hopefully in some ways I helped him because we had a lot of communication. But of course when you’re fighting for the same competition, the friendship… I have a huge respect for him, he’s a wonderful man and coach but you are so engrossed in your own work that you don’t communicate as much, you don’t have the conversations you had before and ultimately you become a rival. But certainly the respect hasn’t dropped or been lost. He is a good man."
Let's have a look at their styles then. When the defensive Chelsea would often frustrate the offensive Liverpool to a draw, it is enough to tell you about their approach to games. Rodgers wasn't too happy about that, saying how it's not difficult to coach to just get 10 players right on the 18-yard box. He also didn't appreciate Jose's team's deliberate time wasting. Rodgers believes in his teams keeping possession of the ball and playing a flowing passing game with the ball always moving, with a flair of attack. In defence, he likes his team to put a lot of pressure on the opposing team. Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard has described Rodgers' one-on-one management as the best he has seen.
Mourinho, on the other hand, has often been accused for playing defensive, dull football to grind out results. He is known for 'parking the bus', which means that he lines up all his players close to goal to purely defend and simply 'see it out' for the 90 minutes. He has been criticised for playing 'negative' by a few coaches and players. One of them was Dutch legend Johan Cruyff, who said: "Jose Mourinho is a negative coach. He only cares about the result and doesn't care much for good football. He is not a football coach. To play at home with seven defenders, you must be very afraid."
Otherwise, Jose is highly renowned for his tactical prowess, game management and adaptability to different situations. A usual feature of his teams is playing with three or more central midfielders, as Mourinho has stressed midfield superiority as crucial in winning games. He is regarded by various players, coaches, commentators, critics as one of the greatest and most successful managers in the world, giving him the nickname of 'The Special One'.
So, what do you think? Who has a better style of football? Is football all about the results, or also about what makes it a beautiful game? Let us know in the comments below.