Three months ago Marca gave Jose Mourinho the coach of the year award. For what? For finishing second in the Spanish League behind Barcelona, losing to Barcelona in the Champions League Semi Final and winning the Copa del Rey. His only improvement was Real’s Champions League finish. Pep Guardiola? A little bit better with Barcelona.
Guardiola does have the most talented side in the world at his disposal. Arguable? Yes. Real Madrid have tons of talent, Manchester City are getting there as well. But lets say Pep isn’t short of anything. In each position he’s got one of the top 5 players in the world or somewhere around that. Still, for what Guardiola achieved last year and overall in his three and something seasons since becoming the Barcelona head coach, he more than deserves the award.
So what did Barcelona win in 2011? A third straight La Liga title. The Champions League for the second time in the Guardiola era, a year after Mourinho beat them with Inter. The European Super Cup and the Club World Cup? desert, but nothing to be really judged upon.
The IFFHS chose Guardiola over Mourinho and Sir Alex Ferguson because of statistics, numbers. You can argue who is the better manager. Guardiola has done it only with one team, while Ferguson, also with one team, has rebuilt United time after time, keeping them at the top of the English game and somewhere near the top of European Football for over a decade now. Mourinho? He has two Champions League titles with two different teams. He built (with Abramovich money) the Chelsea team that Avram Grant led to the Champions League final.
But Guardiola got a Barcelona after the team was falling to pieces, with Rijkaard out the door, with Ronaldinho leaving after tearing the team apart socially. He got rid of the unnecessary and improved the surviving. Thierry Henry suddenly exploded with a brilliant season after a bad debut year. Lionel Messi made the jump from Excellent player to best in the world. Xavi and Iniesta? Sublime.
Guardiola needs to do more during his career in order to move higher in the all time subjective rankings. But based on numbers alone, there’s no chance you can argue about him being the best manager in the world last season.