Sir Alex Ferguson vs. Pep Guardiola: Who Has Had More Impact?

Pep Guardiola’s monumental achievement of winning four Premier League titles in a row with Manchester City meant that the Manchester continued to remain the power centre in English football.
The 53-year-old has now won six Premier League titles during his eight years as the Manchester City boss, thereby continuing the dominance of a club based in Manchester in English football that was started by Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United in the 1990s.

There Are Differences Between Ferguson and Guardiola’s Starts at Their Respective Clubs

Ferguson took the Manchester United job after the FIFA World Cup in 1986 and did not win the Premier League with the Red Devils until six years later in 1992. What followed was a dominance spanning two glorious decades at Old Trafford, during which United won the Premier League a staggering 13 times, as well as the UEFA Champions League twice.
It featured great players like Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Eric Cantona, David Beckham, Peter Schmeichel, Wayne Rooney, Cristiano Ronaldo, Roy Keane, Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidić among others. Ferguson was a great man-manager and faced little difficulty in managing the plethora of superstars in his team.
In comparison, Guardiola joined Manchester City as a two-time Champions League winning manager, both times with that astounding team he managed at FC Barcelona. Guardiola has since won the Champions League once more aside from creating a virtual monopoly in Premier League. Not to mention that he won the Bundesliga with German giants Bayern Munich in between.
Hence, Ferguson had to do the rebuilding at Manchester United right from the scratch. In contrast, Guardiola strengthened the team he obtained by signing and then developing players like Rodri, Rúben Dias, Manuel Akanji, Bernardo Silva and Erling Haaland.
However, the brilliant current run of the Manchester City should not make us forget that they had already won the Premier League twice in the 2010s before Guardiola took charge. So, Manchester City were already a team on the ascent thanks largely to their owners from the Middle-East.

Ferguson’s United Was More English With Their Playing Style Than Manchester City is

There is no doubt about that. Manchester United was a lot more direct under Ferguson than City are with Guardiola, with the former playing a 4-4-2 formation during the first half of the Scot’s 27-year-long tenure. They also employed very successful striker duos like Andy Cole-Dwight Yorke, Teddy Sheringham-Ole Gunnar Solskjær and Rooney-Dimitar Berbatov.
There used to be no dearth of crosses for the strikers from the flanks either, with the likes of Beckham, Gary Neville and Denis Irwin in the team. That was a very English way of playing the game.
However, as football evolved, Sir Alex decided to change his team’s formation to a 4-3-3, with Ronaldo, Giggs and Rooney upfront at times. In comparison, Guardiola has made sure that the Barcelona model is followed at Manchester City, with their short-passing game squeezing the life out their opponents. There are occasional crosses from the likes of Bernardo and Phil Foden, but they are not the predominant source of Manchester City’s goals.
The Cityzens manage to push most of their opponents inside their own half and dominate possession throughout. Their forwards crowd the final third and move the ball around with quick, short passes. Not to mention that de Bruyne and Rodri’s ability to play through balls help a lethal striker like Haaland a great deal in scoring his goals.
Overall, it should be fair to say that both Ferguson and Guardiola stayed true to the times they managed in, in terms of the playing style they professed. However, Guardiola played a very important part in shaping the way the game is played at during his time as a manager. The Spaniard, thus, is more of a pioneer in terms of bringing about novel tactics and improvisations such as creating a new hybrid role for the full-back by playing him in midfield, too, or by playing centre-backs as full-backs.

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