Luis Miguel Pascual
Paris, Apr 27 (EFE) .- The Spanish Pep Guardiola, in charge of Manchester City, and the Argentine Mauricio Pochettino, coach of Paris Saint-Germain, rivals in the semifinals of the Champions League, share the same inspiration: the one that emanates scored by Marcelo Bielsa when we have the information.
Both are recognized as followers of the Rosario coach who discovered the young Pochettino in his day and who continues to share extensive talks about football with Guardiola.
But the two technicians have cultivated a different interpretation of the thesis of the “madman”, one, the Spanish, more dogmatic, compared to the Argentine, who has always been more pragmatic.
It will be the 19 duel with both on the bench. Pochettino, more recent in coaching work, has not met so many times against any other coach since his debut on the bench at Espanyol de Barcelona in 2009.
The Argentine coach has only beaten Guardiola’s teams three times, but he has to his credit the feat of having eliminated the Spanish’s City in their only European tie, in the quarterfinals of the Champions League in 2019.
After winning 1-0 in the first leg, Pochettino’s Tottenham endured in Manchester in a crazy game, in which at 11 minutes the score was already 2-2. Guardiola’s men finally managed to prevail by 4-3 and saw how the VAR canceled a goal in the discount that the pass would have given them, but they were left out of the competition due to the greater difference in goals achieved outside their stadium.
The Argentine also dealt a blow to Guardiola in 2009 at the helm of Espanyol, who beat Barcelona 2-1 in a league derby.
Guardiola has more triumphs, although he has always led teams of higher caliber than the Argentine.
The Spanish coach, who has managed Barça, Bayern Munich and City, will play against PSG in the semifinals of the Champions League for the eighth time, a record he shares with José Mourinho, the coach who has been measured the most times. , 25, ahead of the 21 that has faced Jürgen Klopp.
Both the Portuguese and the German claim styles of play diametrically opposed to that of Guardiola, who will seek his third final in the Champions League, after the two he won with Barcelona.
For Pochettino it would be the second, having reached the final in 2019 at the head of Tottenham, who bowed to Liverpool.
Guardiola takes his style of play to the clubs, based on the lessons he learned from the years of coexistence in the Blaugrana dressing room with Johan Cruyff, but also from Bielsa’s theses.
The touch, the possession of the ball, the high pressure are essential elements for the Catalan coach, who molds his team to achieve these ends.
He has the thorn in him of not having raised the Champions League outside of Barcelona, something that escaped him with Bayern and that, for now, he has not achieved in front of City either.
The history between Pochettino and Bielsa has now lasted more than three decades. Rosario’s coach discovered it and at the age of 16 made him debut in Newell’s Old Boys in 1988.
From his mentor he keeps his seasoned training sessions, hard for many footballers, but also his tactical rigor and the technical meticulousness that he demands of his players.
However, Murphy’s coach is not dogmatic and has adapted his drawings to the characteristics of the teams he has been through.
Even at PSG, where he arrived last January to replace German Thomas Tuchel, he has combined more defensive approaches, such as those he showed against Bayern Munich in the quarterfinals, with other clearly offensive ones, especially in their domestic championship.
The Argentine coach tries to get the most out of his players and in Paris he knows that he has a lethal weapon, the speed of Kylian Mbappé, which is best expressed with spaces.
Pochettino looks to PSG to open his record as a coach, something he could not do in his previous experiences with Espanyol, Southampton and Tottenham. EFE