Football

Champions League semi-finals produce a clash of styles

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Jose Mourinho is well-regarded as one of the best managers in Europe. Carlo Ancelotti has a similar reputation. However, both have been labelled as boring and too bland when choosing their set up and style of football for specific games.

Combined, the two coaches have won four Champions League trophies with three different clubs. Is experience the reason for this?

The argument would be no, simply because Pep Guardiola, -whose Bayern Munich side had 72% possession at the Bernabeu on Wednesday night - also has two Champions League titles. Fans have argued that football is splitting into two paths, but this is not the case. This is the case of what experience can do. Mourinho will be the first example.

The Chelsea boss saw Stamford Bridge as the place to win the tie with Atletico and needed to take the game back there with as good a chance as they could get of progressing to the final. If Mourinho opened the game up in the hope of doing this with an away goal, the chances are Atletico would have scored them out of the tie.

Mourinho wanted an away goal, but the clean sheet was first priority. How many 1-0 wins have we seen Chelsea grab against free-flowing attacking opponents? Roberto di Matteo highlighted this tactic when he guided Chelsea to Champions League glory in 2012. 

Against Barcelona, you have to take your chances. After defending solidly, they had one chance on the break at Stamford Bridge and Didier Drogba took it. Another stupendous performance followed at the Camp Nou, where Di Matteo knew he would have to score.

They did so and the rest is history. However, Mourinho knew he wouldn't have to score because their defence could be so tight. This is not boring football, it is clever football.

Ancelotti is the second example. Real Madrid have one of the greatest attacks in world football. one that can only be matched by Bayern Munich. Madrid, though, don't have as tight a defence, although the two aren't worlds apart.

What they do hold over Munich, though, is more pace. Again, not too different but when Gareth Bale sets off, good luck catching him. Ancelotti used this to good effect this week, Madrid had plenty of chances and took one after 19 minutes.

That was enough in the end, both teams could have scored more easily, though. Madrid will be confident of scoring at the Allianz Arena with their attack most likely to be fitter and stronger. This will leave Munich needing three, of course. Again, not boring, but tactically accurate.

Is football changing then? Although both ties are close, Mourinho and Ancelotti's men are slight favourites (certainly in my eyes) to go through.

Is this conservative approach right then? The answer is no. It would be naive to suggest it. Looking at the league tables, Bayern Munich had the Bundesliga won in record time.

Atletico are sitting pretty on top in La Liga with Diego Simeone getting his players to produce some scintillating form. Real don't sit too far behind, but Wednesday was not their natural game.

Mourinho has lacked a real goalscorer and although they scored four against Tottenham and six against Arsenal, they sit second. Instead, it is Liverpool who sit top having scored 96 goals in 35 games.

Football is not changing, but there is always a way to beat the best. Europe's elite competition is left for Europe's elite coaches and most genius football brains. The reason Ancelotti and Mourinho have enjoyed such huge success in this competition is because they can handle these situations. Conservative football works, but only if it is done right.

Football though, is not changing yet.

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UEFA Champions League

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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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