[OP-ED]: Humiliated on their home returns
Destine had prepared for us a European week that included two thrilling home returns of the coaches who ruled Planet Soccer five years ago. In the Champions League Pep Guardiola, now as Manchester City manager, returned to Camp Nou, the stadium in which he shined FC Barcelona’s player and coach. In the other side, in a Premier League match, José Mourinho came back, now as Manchester United’s skipper, to his London house, Chelsea, where he was once known as The Special One.
The games were previewed to be tough. But very few expected that both were going to be so badly abused at their own homes. Both of their teams lost dramatically by the exact same score, 4-0.
The British media criticized Guardiola heavily. Pep had to dodge questions around not starting Argentinean striker Sergio “Kun” Agüero. He also was questioned again about changing goalkeepers at the beginning of the season. Guardiola’s man Chilean Claudio Bravo was sent off at Barcelona for touching the ball with his hands outside the box after failing to clear a lose ball. Pep’s decision of sending English National Team goalkeeper Joe Hart on loan to Torino, leaving Bravo in his place has not been understood by local writers.
In bad ways, that are not common in him Guardiola gave it back to the media at the press conference, showing them his coaching resume. It is true that he earned many titles with Barcelona, but without Leo Messi he has not been able to win the Champions League again. The Argentinean star made the Barcelona night miserable for his former manager, registering his 37th hat trick with his beloved squad.
Typical of him, Mourinho blamed everyone but himself for United’s debacle in London. He did not like the attitude of the man who took his place at Chelsea’s bench Antonio Conte, probably because the Italian gave him a few soccer lessons on Sunday. José was not happy with his players either, saying after the game they did not behave like grown men.
Monday was really black for both after the last Premier League contest. City drew at Manchester against Southampton with Guardiola recording his fifth consecutive game without a win. This had not happen to the Spanish coach since 2009.
Anyway, if we stick to reality things are not as bad as they look for either of them. United also registered last week an easy win against Turkish Ferenbahce in the Europa League. City, despite its later woes still ranks first with 20 points in the Premier League table tied with Arsenal and Liverpool.
In a few hours both will face each other again in the EFL Cup. The winner will regain his genius status. The loser will see his near future with uncertainty. This is soccer, the beautiful game. The sport in which everything can be turned around 180 degrees in less than a week.