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Guardiola and Ferguson Have Safest Seats in Coaching

"If there are any safe seats in the fast and feckless world of soccer team management, they are occupied by Alex Ferguson and Josep Guardiola," writes Rob Hughes. Hughes compares the backgrounds and powers of the two coaches who will compete in the European Champions League final in Rome next Wednesday.

"One is the grand-daddy of team managers, the other is still shedding the title of novice coach," says Hughes. "The distinction between them is that Ferguson manages not just the team but the club. He makes the decisions on who United hires, from schoolboy talents to multimillion-dollar star players. Guardiola, in keeping with the way that sports outside Britain appoints coaches, is precisely that: the coach of the squad of players put at his disposal by others."

"Ferguson has steered United to 25 trophies in 22 years, and managed the transition through different epochs during which the coaches, and, of course, the players, have become multimillionaire cult figures," Hughes says. "Guardiola has stepped instantly, but not effortlessly, into that world." Constantly hailing to the talents of his players, Guardiola praises them rather than taking credit for his team's success: "Soccer is about players. We coaches set out the rules and give some ideas for them to follow. All the rest is them, just them and they have done a great job."

Read the whole story at New York Times »

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