BARCELONA

Barcelona: ex-director reveals why Pep got nod over Mou

In his new book, Man City CEO Ferrán Soriano offers an insight into Barça's 2008 appointment of Pep Guardiola at the expense of José Mourinho.

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Barcelona: ex-director reveals why Pep got nod over Mou
PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU-JOSEP LAG AFP

Former Barcelona director Ferrán Soriano has explained why the Catalan outfit chose Pep Guardiola over José Mourinho as their new boss in 2008.

Mourinho, who was appointed as Manchester United manager last week, had worked at Barça as assistant to Sir Bobby Robson and Louis van Gaal early on in his career, before establishing himself as one of football's leading coaches at the helm of FC Porto and Chelsea.

However, Los Azulgranas opted for their comparatively inexperienced former captain Guardiola, then in charge of the club's 'B' team, to replace the outgoing Frank Rijkaard.

Guardiola went on to enjoy huge success during his four-year spell in the Camp Nou dugout, accumulating a trophy haul that featured three LaLiga titles, two Copas del Rey and two Champions Leagues.

Guardiola's time as Barça boss was wildly successful.

And in his new book Goal: The ball doesn't go into the net by chance, Soriano - now CEO at Premier League side Manchester City, where Guardiola is to take over as manager this summer - discussed the Barça board's decision-making process.

"Both had great virtues and they seemed to be at opposite ends of an imaginary scale," Soriano noted of Mourinho and Guardiola.

"At the one end we had an experienced coach, who was successful, with a strong personality, and a controversial reputation.

"At the other end was a very talented person, who was totally familiar with the club, but without significant experience as a coach."

And Soriano revealed that, as part of the search for Rijkaard's successor, Barça devised a nine-point plan detailing what they expected of the man appointed - with Mourinho causing them some degree of worry when it came to point six.

"The coach is one of the club's permanent, weekly representatives," it said. "He must act cautiously at all times. Respect opponents, referees and other institutions in general - fair play.

Mourinho (second right) worked under Robson (centre) at Barça.

"He must not abuse the media or create false controversy, but focus on the relevant aspects of the game and how the team is doing."

Soriano also compared the two coaches' management styles, observing: "Guardiola always prefers working with smaller groups with stable hierarchies and not a lot of internal competition.

"Guardiola chooses to work with 14 or 15 players that have his total confidence. The end result is a very stable playing style and a changing room that doesn't harbour much conflict.

"Mourinho's strategy is different. Whether in Chelsea, Inter Milan or Real Madrid, Mourinho works with bigger groups, with many well known and talented players competing for the line-up.

"Mourinho assumes the complex task of managing his players' egos in exchange for having that much talent at his disposal."