Tuesday 19 March 2019

'He's the Joe Schmidt of football' - Niall Quinn identifies the coach who has mastered the art of man management

Niall Quinn
Niall Quinn
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Niall Quinn has hailed Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola as 'the Joe Schmidt of football', as he claimed man management has become the key facet in the handling of modern sportsmen.

Guardiola will look to lead Manchester City to Carabao Cup final glory against Chelsea at Wembley on Sunday, while Schmidt will be aiming to guide Ireland's rugby team to Six Nations success against Italy, with former Republic of Ireland striker Quinn suggesting the duo gave mastered the art of getting the best out of their players.

By contrast, Quinn believes Jose Mourinho's more abrasive management style is outdated, as he suggests top sportsmen now need to be treated with respect.

"Tactics are important, but I look at Pep Guardiola and his greatest quality for me is his man management," Virgin Media Sport pundit Quinn told independent.ie.

"He gets the right players into the club that will fit his system, injects a philosophy that produces results and the evidence that his methods were are there for all to see in the trophies he has won.

"Yet above all, I believe he has found the perfect balance with man management. The players have to go out there and feel as big, if not bigger, than Guardiola is trying to get them to be and he has a great way with them.

"We have a rugby world in Ireland and in Joe Schmidt, we have a coach who has a fantastic way to getting everything out of his players. Everyone would agree he is the best in the business at what he does and that is why I would say Guardiola is the Joe Schmidt of football.

"I always watch when Guardiola or Schmidt are speaking and the emotion that rushes through me when I see them speaking in depth never changes - I'd love to have played for those guys.

"Then I look at Jose Mourinho and I am delighted to have avoided him. It is sad to say that because he was fantastic when he first came to Chelsea and he had that twinkle in his eye, that bit of magic.

"Over the years, the pressure, the media and everything took his toll on him and you could see a set of players at Manchester United who were shackled by Mourinho's doubts in them and they were broken by the time the manager left the club.

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Pep Guardiola, left, and Jose Mourinho share a word or two on the touchline (Martin Rickett/PA)

"If you are questioning yourself because your manager is questioning you publicly, no one can produce their best in any walk of life. Mourinho put barriers in the way of his players and they needed a manager who believed in them. We have seen the impact since Old Gunnar Solskjaer came in as manager and it has highlighted the significance of a manager at the helm of any sporting team.

"You can see them thriving, it has been like a weight has lifted off their shoulders. Psycologists, sports scientists and all these guys who are not involved in the game need to take a look at the difference in United since Solskajer replaced Mourinho and it shows that the key man in any club is still the manager."

Quinn questions whether we will see Mourinho returning to the English game after chastening experiences at both Chelsea at then United, as he argued the Portuguese tactician has contributed to his own downfall.

"It's a real shame because his record in the game deserves to be respected, but United had turned into a giant ship stuck in a dry dock under his watch," added Quinn.

"I'm sure we will see Mourinho back in the game at some point, but I question whether that will be at another top top in England."

Virgin Media Sport will host the UEFA Champions League matches on Wednesdays and the UEFA Europa League on Thursdays. Tuesday’s UEFA Champions League matches will also be Free to Air on Virgin Media One TV which will also broadcast the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League finals.

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