Premier League

Samuel Eto'o explains the difference between Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho

The striker worked with both coaches and he has attempted to articulate their different approaches to the game

2:30pm on Thursday 11th June 2020
Martin Macdonald

Samuel Eto’o has provided an insight into working under Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho, two men who have contrasting approaches to football management.

The Cameroonian enjoyed success under both coaches, winning the Champions League in 2009 with Barcelona before making the move to Inter, where he claimed his second consecutive win in the competition, this time with the Nerazzurri.

Guardiola and Mourinho are the two most successful coaches of the past 15 years, and have naturally crossed paths numerous times due to the elite teams they have managed in that time.

For Eto’o, he lauds how the Spaniard was able to prepare and execute plans for games, even if the pair never connected on a personal level.

"I stick to what I said, and I'm not the only person who has said it," he told Marca.

"My experience with Pep at Barcelona was what it was, but on a personal level it wasn't what we hoped for. Many players have said the same about him.

"As a coach, Pep prepares games like nobody else. How he coached us in 2009 was incredible, his way of seeing attacking football, control, having the ball, rondos, Pep was the best at that.

"As a player, you had the feeling that you didn't run much, although you did, because you were enjoying it.

"They are specific techniques for those of us who love good football. For me, football is feeling like you're in a theatre, and seeing tiki-taka, passing the ball, it's not the only way to win but its special. It's Pep's way."

The opposite is said for Mourinho, whom Eto’o revealed takes on a much more hands-on approach, embracing the players as friends as well as players.

"Jose is, firstly, a friend," Eto'o continued.

"He's a person who is upfront and when he doesn't like something, he tells you. We both have strong temperaments and we understood each other well.

"He's one of the best people I have found in football. People try to present him as controversial, but it's a lie. What happens is that life, and football, is hypocritical and they prefer that to having honest people.

"Mou is a top guy. The other thing is that he only cares about the result. It's his way of seeing football and in that sense he is the No. 1. Beating him at his game is impossible, you can never beat him.

"He's a winner and a born leader. He spoke to you with the right words. He's great."

In the last face-off between Guardiola and Mourinho, the latter came out on top as his Tottenham side defeated Man City 2-0 after goals from Steven Bergwijn and Son Heung-min.

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