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Eric Cantona has chipped into the Jose Mourinho v Pep Guardiola debate

It seems the Man United legend prefers Guardiola's style over Mourinho's substance

Manchester United legend Eric Cantona has given Jose Mourinho’s ego an almighty Kung-Fu kick by claiming he’d prefer City’s Pep Guardiola to manage his former club.

The Frenchman – who played for the Red Devils between 1992 and 1997 – had plenty of nice things to say about Mourinho, but claims his defensive style clashes with the club’s “identity”.

Rise, King Eric

PA:Empics Sport
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Rise, King Eric

Speaking to BBC Radio Four’s Today programme, Cantona said: “He is playing in this defensive way, which is not the identity of Manchester United.


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“Both Guardiola and Mourinho are great, but I prefer attacking football, when it’s more creative.

“It’s the way I tried to play all my career.”

No kidding, Eric. 

This could get ugly

Phil Shephard-Lewis - The Sun
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This could get ugly

Chipping into the debate further, King Eric added: “I cannot understand why United would take a manager who plays in a defensive way.

“I love Mourinho, but I prefer to watch Barcelona play.

“I prefer the way Guardiola plays, and I would prefer him as manager of Manchester United, it’s more logical.

“I don’t watch Man City because it’s Man City, but I would love to watch the team managed by Guardiola.”

These frank words from such a prominent figure of United’s past will likely irk Mourinho, who’s seemingly been in a career-long battle with Guardiola.

The pair have clashed many times and have a fierce rivalry, but are seemingly polar-opposites when it comes to philosophy and tactics.

A man of style

AFP or licensors
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A man of style

To put it very simply; Guardiola is famed for setting his team’s up to play a possession-based, pass-pass-pass, style of football which is easy on the eye, while Mourinho focuses more on a team’s shape, strength and organisation.


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Both have been successful over the years, of course.

Mourinho’s United have played second-fiddle to City so far this season

PA:Press Association
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Mourinho’s United have played second-fiddle to City so far this season

However, in the Premier League this season – the second year the two have been face-to-face in England – United find themselves trailing their bitter cross-city rivals in the table by eight points.

City have won an astounding 17 consecutive matches – scoring 54 goals in all competitions – and have been universally praised for their attacking style of football.

Over to you, Mourinho. 

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