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Manuel Pellegrini & Mauricio Pochettino buck a coaching trend

Manuel Pellegrini & Mauricio Pochettino buck a coaching trend

Posted by Juan Gavasa on September 24, 2013

For more than an hour in last Wednesday's Champions League matches, up and down the continent, every goal had been scored by players from either Argentina or Brazil - an extraordinary example of South America's contribution to European club football. In comparison to the impressive feats of the players, surprisingly little of that contribution has come from coaches. There have been a few South American success stories on the other side of the Atlantic - Brazil's Otto Gloria and Chile's Fernando Riera spring to mind.

But opportunities have been limited - hence the general surprise when Argentina's Gerardo Martino was rushed into the Barcelona job, an appointment which suggests a desire to keep Lionel Messi content.  “The modern dressing room of a major European club is a mini working class version of the United Nations, containing players from all sorts of nationalities and cultural backgrounds”. In this case, the fact that the club's biggest star is from Argentina has opened a door. But paradoxically, the fact that European football has become so globalised almost certainly makes it more difficult for South American coaches to find their feet.

There are three main tasks a coach must perform; select the team, determine the strategy and set the emotional tone for the work. All demand adjustments - in a tactical sense, for example, European club football is far quicker than South American. But perhaps the biggest challenge comes in the third of those tasks, which encapsulates the difficult mission of man management.

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