Ramos aims to teach United a lesson

Since his untimely exit from Spurs, the CSKA manager has revived the Russian club and even featured in Spanish textbooks. Ferguson may learn something tonight, writes Ian Herbert
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The Independent Online

It says much for the reputation Juande Ramos has left behind him in Spain that a management theory was named after him during the summer and now forms the basis of a corporate textbook.

Reconversió*organizativa: El método Juande Ramos (Organised restructuring: the Juande Ramos method) is the title of the tome which analyses how different business leaders – from Ramos at Tottenham, Real Madrid and now CSKA Moscow to Carlos Ghosn at Nissan – succeed in situations of crisis. The collection of essays drawn together by the book doesn't make it especially clear what the método actually is, but it certainly seems to be working. The 55-year-old shuffled out of White Hart Lane a shrunken, broken man, but recaptured the winning feeling from his Uefa Cup winning days at Seville when he took up the reins as caretaker at Real Madrid and his reputation has been further enhanced at CSKA Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium, which awaits Manchester United tonight.

It wasn't all joy at the Bernabeu – Ramos' last Champions League encounter with British opposition was the 4-0 group stage beating Real experienced at Anfield in March. But he accomplished a record number of away wins in a season for the side and made good a gaping gap with Barcelona – two reasons why he has been so strongly linked with a return to Atletico Madrid, where coach Abel Resino is hanging on by his fingertips at the wrong end of La Liga.

CSKA might have something to say about that. They had slipped 10 points off the championship pace towards the end of the nine-month tenure of Zico and though they still trail league leaders Rubin Kazan by seven points, results since Ramos took over on 10 September speak for themselves. The "Army Men" have won all three home league games under his command – 3-0, 3-0 and 4-0 – and United can expect a challenging evening on the Luzhniki plastic pitch.

Ramos' contract runs only until December – much like his deal at the Bernabeu, it's temporary – and though the financial rewards are agreeable (Zico earned €5m a year, thanks to the sponsorship of the club by a Muscovite state bank) he wants to be more than the troubleshooter. "It seems clubs call me when they have the rope around their neck. But I have got my best results at the clubs where I have stayed for the longest time," he said at the launch of the book.

Ramos also claimed on that occasion to be still adjusting to football's grand view of him as a saviour of clubs. "After finalising my contract at Tottenham we returned to Spain and my agent told me of the offer from Madrid. I thought it was a joke," he said. But his modesty does not obscure the impression that Ramos feels he has a point to prove tonight. "Footballers are people who feel superior and you have to convince them to achieve things as part of a team," he said – a thinly veiled strike, you imagined, at those who contributed to his departure from Spurs.

United's arrival provides the chance to send a footballing message back to his one-time home, even though he will be without CSKA's latest Brazilian striker Guilherme, who is also likely to miss the Old Trafford return on 3 November. "This match is really important for us," Ramos said yesterday. "It will show how close CSKA is to the world's best teams. We are obliged to play for the win."

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