Have Mourinho and Benitez been partly left behind by the Pep era evolution?

Miguel Delaney speaks to Off The Ball about way game has changed since 2008

pep, chelsea, mourinho

Picture by: Andres Kudacki / AP/Press Association Images

Jose Mourinho and Rafa Benitez are not overtly fond of each other if we're basing things on their numerous clashes during their time in charge of Chelsea and Liverpool in the mid-2000s.

But they do have one thing in common at present, namely that both men will be linked with managerial vacancies for the next while after their respective dismissals by Chelsea and Real Madrid respectively in recent weeks.

But is there another similarity that requires greater scrutiny?

In an article for Eurosport, Irish football writer Miguel Delaney makes an interesting point about the way football changed post-2008 - and perhaps left Mourinho and Benitez behind somewhat - as the influential Pep Guardiola became the leading lightning rod for a new generation of innovation and tactics:

"When Benitez was at the absolute peak of his career, and regularly reaching the Champions League semi-finals between 2004 and 2008, the average number of goals per game was 2.59. The average number of goals scored by semi-finalists was 19.31. This lower-scoring, more minimalist era better suited the ‘controlled’ football of Benitez and Mourinho. Since then, things have changed.

"In the last three seasons, the average number of goals per game in the Champions League has been 2.91 - a huge leap. The average number of goals scored by semi-finalists, meanwhile, has been 26."

Miguel joined Joe and Dan McDonnell on Off The Ball tonight to talk about the point highlighted in the extract above.

"It's a state of football that suits managers who are willing to take more risks, who are willing to expand more and Benitez has never been like that," said Miguel of the current era which stands in contrast to a period in the mid-noughties where controlled football and keeping it tight provided rich dividends, adding that: "I think Mourinho suffers from the same type of thing as Benitez because his best years came in that period too and he hasn't had anywhere near as much as success in the five years since."

Miguel also looked at the cases of Guus Hiddink and Arsene Wenger in terms of how both have fared as the winds of change have shifted over the years.