Roberto Mancini versus Jose Mourinho: Why has Real Madrid's Portuguese manager eclipsed the Italian?

City manager’s son thinks his dad can outwit his rival, but the form book and his embarrassing time at Inter suggest otherwise

The light was briefly restored to Roberto Mancini’s eyes when, towards the end of a press conference in which he didn’t much look like a man ready to conquer Europe, he was reminded of his youngest son’s verdict on the differences between himself and Jose Mourinho.

"Mi padre sabe mas de futbol que Mourinho," ("My father knows more about football than Mourinho,") the 20-year-old Andrea Mancini had ventured – his current struggle to make inroads into a football career at Valladolid suggesting that causing offence to the Real Madrid manager carries no material risks.

For good measure, the young Mancini also believes that "Mou" lacks his father's experience as a player, and is "more psychological; more of a motivator".

"I think it is normal," Mancini Snr said, not entirely diplomatically, when a Marca journalist put this to him. "If you talk with Mourinho's sons, they say the same. My son has his opinion. I respect his opinion."

The truth is that Mancini needs all the advocates he can get as Europe comes around – even one whose sole senior outing in England was a five-minute substitute's appearance in the Johnstone's Paints Trophy for Oldham, to whom City loaned the manager's son last season before dad ruthlessly released him.

Mancini Snr also said yesterday that City's do-or-die Champions League tie at the Etihad Stadium was "not Mourinho against Mancini, but City against Real Madrid". However, where European competition is concerned it really has been no contest between the Italian and the Portuguese, two years his senior.

Not only is Mourinho's Champions League win ratio 54.5 per cent compared to Mancini's 50 per cent (see panel, below), but the Portuguese was the man whom Internazionale courted in the spring of 2008 after Champions League elimination to Liverpool at the last-16 stage convinced the club's proprietor, Massimo Moratti, that Mancini would never deliver the big prize.

Mourinho delivered it to San Siro within 15 months. There was no sarcasm when Mancini said ahead of Mourinho's 100th Champions League tie as manager in Manchester tonight: "Congratulations to him. To do 100 caps at his age is very important." But there was no warmth, either.

Why has Mourinho eclipsed him? Because being "more of a motivator" is a more valuable asset than Andrea Mancini gives credit for on these big nights. Because there is a feeling that his deep craving for success in the competition exceeds the Italian's.

One of the surprising aspects of Mancini's discussion with the media in the Far East in July, was his disclosure that he considered retaining the Premier League title to be a higher priority than Europe.

Of course, Mancini has had City's poor Uefa coefficient to contend with, pitching him from last season's group of death to this. But since the City manager was eulogising yesterday about Cristiano Ronaldo's extraordinary consistency, it is worth reflecting on the way that City's big names have faded on these big European occasions. Yaya Touré has not been the same force of nature; neither has Carlos Tevez, who made City hostages to fortune by declaring yesterday that Lionel Messi, and not Ronaldo, was the best player in the world.

Mancini might also have expected at least one of his strikers to emerge as a dominant figure on the European stage by now, but Sergio Aguero has done little and while last season's group campaign was dominated by the saga which suggested Tevez's City days were numbered, this autumn provides an increasing sense that Mancini considers Mario Balotelli beyond redemption.

What Mancini said on this subject yesterday was not new but the way he said it was. "Sometimes he doesn't understand what his job is and how his job is important for his life, but I hope for him that he can understand this quickly," the manager said. "Now he is 22 but life can go quickly and I hope he can… understand that to be like [Ronaldo] you should work hard, your mind should be always on your job, not on the other things that are not important. I am very sorry for him for this." A Balotelli back injury was being assessed last night. Gaël Clichy is out with an ankle problem.

Ten minutes after the press conference, one of those games of keep-ball was being staged for the benefit of the cameras on the training ground and when Balotelli, in the course of trying to get the ball back, ended up on his backside, to the wild amusement of his team-mates, you felt by the look on his face that he could easily have got very angry. Gareth Barry wisely defused the situation – "I think he's smiling," he said – and the press visit to training quickly ended, but you saw in that instant what Mancini is up against.

Tevez's presence at yesterday's press conference shows that you never know when there might be a way back, even though the body language between the Argentine and his manager – no eye contact – suggested that this is a relationship of convenience. Mancini, tracksuited and with whistle around his neck, checked his watch as Tevez spoke and looked like a man for whom this appearance was an intrusion on the precious few hours left to prepare. Mourinho, appearing eight hours later, looked like he had all the time in the world.

Champions League: Head-to-head

J Mourinho P 99 W 54 D 25 L 20 Win% 54.4

R Mancini P 50 W 25 D 12 L 13 Win% 50.0

Sport
Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi during Barcelona training in August
footballPete Jenson co-ghost wrote Suarez’s autobiography and reveals how desperate he's been to return
News
newsMcKamey Manor says 'there is no escape until the tour is completed'
Voices
Hunted: A stag lies dead on Jura, where David Cameron holidays and has himself stalked deer
voicesThe Scotland I know is becoming a playground for the rich
News
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Architect Frank Gehry is regarded by many as the most important architect of the modern era
arts + entsGehry has declared that 98 per cent of modern architecture is "s**t"
Money
Welcome to tinsel town: retailers such as Selfridges will be Santa's little helpers this Christmas, working hard to persuade shoppers to stock up on gifts
news
Arts and Entertainment
Soul singer Sam Smith cleared up at the Mobo awards this week
newsSam Smith’s Mobo triumph is just the latest example of a trend
News
Laurence Easeman and Russell Brand
people
Sport
Fans of Dulwich Hamlet FC at their ground Champion Hill
footballFans are rejecting the £2,000 season tickets, officious stewarding, and airline-stadium sponsorship
News
Shami Chakrabarti
people
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has refused to deny his involvement in the upcoming new Star Wars film
filmBenedict Cumberbatch reignites Star Wars 7 rumours
Sport
football
News
news
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker