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Best of enemies

With Roberto Mancini and Jose Mourinho doing battle in the UEFA Champions League, Matt Stanger picks the top ten managerial rivalries. Unsurprisingly Fergie, Clough, Neil and Kev all make an appearance...

Last Updated: 28/09/12 1:48pm

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Tony Pulis and Arsene Wenger

This current Premier League feud boils down to a difference in style, and was aggravated by Ryan Shawcross' dangerous challenge on Aaron Ramsey in 2010, which ruled the young midfielder out for nine months. Arsene Wenger was outraged at Stoke's rough tactics and said after the incident: "The tackle from Shawcross was horrendous. Spare me how nice he is." But Tony Pulis leapt to the defence of his player and animosity has lingered between the two managers ever since, with Pulis suggesting before the clash at the Britannia in August that Wenger is the one who should be worried about his team's reputation and poor disciplinary record.

Roberto Mancini and Jose Mourinho

There is mutual respect between Mancini and Mourinho, but a personal rivalry stems from the pair's successes at Inter Milan. Despite Mourinho leading Inter to Champions League glory in 2010, Mancini has always insisted on reminding everyone of the impact he had at the San Siro. "Did I build the foundations? I built the roof too!" he once claimed. "The most difficult thing is to start a cycle. The rest follows as a consequence." Before Man City's recent meeting with Real Madrid, Mancini said that the fixture was not "Mourinho versus Mancini", but after his rival gained the upper hand with a last-gasp 3-2 victory, all eyes will be on the two coaches again when they meet at the Etihad on November 21.

Alex Ferguson and Kenny Dalglish

There have always been cordial relations between Ferguson and Dalglish, and the latter has recently expressed his gratitude to the United manager for his support in the immediate aftermath of the Hillsborough tragedy. But in the 1994/95 season the pair were involved in a fierce battle at the top of the Premier League with Blackburn leading the title race for much of the season against Ferguson's United. In a desperate attempt to claw back Rovers' advantage, Ferguson cranked up the pressure on Dalglish, claiming his team could do a 'Devon Loch' and fall before the finish line. Dalglish feigned ignorance as to the story of the legendary race horse - "We've both been a long time out of short trousers. It will have to be a good one to catch us out" - but Blackburn's poor form at the end of the campaign suggested Ferguson's plan almost worked. 'Devon Loch is a horse!' wrote the United manager in a letter of congratulations to his rival in the summer. 'I'm sure your Dad must have backed it...mine did!'

Rafa Benitez and David Moyes

There is always a rivalry between the managers of the two Merseyside clubs, but Benitez v Moyes seemed to have added spice. Benitez's brash and honest approach to football management has often made him the enemy of fellow coaches, and Moyes was particularly riled when the former Liverpool boss dismissed Everton as a 'small club' after their defensive tactics had earned a draw at Anfield. Benitez stuck to a similar line when the Toffees secured another draw two years later - "I felt one team was trying to win this game and the other was trying not to lose" - but Moyes shrugged off the criticism and when asked if Benitez's jibe still rankled him, the Scot said: "No. We don't need to talk about it."

Arrigo Sacchi and Fabio Capello
The rivalry between these two Italian managers dates back to 1987, when Sacchi replaced Capello at AC Milan after the latter had taken charge on a temporary basis for the last six games of the 1986/87 season. There were many supporters of Capello being given the job full-time, but Sacchi shrugged off concerns over his amateur playing career when he said, "A jockey doesn't have to have been born a horse." He was right, clearly, as Milan went on to win two European Cups and a Scudetto during his tenure. Sacchi eventually left Milan to coach Italy in 1991 and he was not always flattering about Capello's style after the young coach replaced him. When asked about his Rossoneri rivalry with Capello when the Italian was appointed England manager in 2007, Sacchi told the Daily Mail: "Given the fierce rivalry that has characterised our relationship in the past and the imaginative controversy that has often taken place, I would rather not go into too much substance," before spending the rest of the interview begging not to be asked any more questions on the matter - "No, please, leave alone. I am sorry."
Kevin Keegan and Alex Ferguson

It's safe to say Kevin Keegan lost this particular battle of mind games with Ferguson. By the time of his famous outburst in a live television interview - "I will love it if we beat them! Love it!" - Newcastle had already blown their 12-point lead in the 1995/96 title race. The Magpies' only hope of victory was to beat Nottingham Forest and Tottenham in their last two fixtures, while hoping that United slipped up at Middlesbrough on the final day. However, Keegan's words failed to inspire his team; they drew both games 1-1, and United ended the campaign four points ahead of their rivals. Keegan's misery was compounded in the first fixture of the new season when Newcastle were hammered 4-0 by Ferguson's men in the Charity Shield, but he led the Magpies to a memorable 5-0 victory over United in October. Although Newcastle were involved in another battle at the top, Keegan resigned mid-season and was replaced by Ferguson's familiar foe Kenny Dalglish.

Stan Ternent and Neil Warnock

Ternent is no longer managing, but this pair had an on-going feud for several years during spells at various clubs in the lower leagues. Ternent recalls one particularly delightful episode in his autobiography 'Stan the Man: A Hard Life in Football' when Warnock sent his assistant Kevin Blackwell to eavesdrop on Burnley's half-time teamtalk when the Clarets were playing Sheffield United at Brammall Lane. After hearing a noise outside the dressing room, Ternent booted the door open and walloped Blackwell across the chops. A 'confrontation' with Warnock ensued as the bad blood that had been simmering between the two bosses boiled over. If your enemy's enemy is supposed to be your friend, we imagine Ternent never has to buy a drink again.

Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola

Jose just doesn't seem the same this season without his old friend Pep. The Real Madrid manager has been complaining that he 'doesn't have a team' after Cristiano Ronaldo and co made a poor start to the defence of their La Liga crown, but we know the real reason for Jose's funk is that he misses his old sparring partner. In two years at Spain's top two clubs, Mourinho and Guardiola went head-to-head on 11 occasions, with Barça winning five matches, Madrid just two and four ending in stalemate. The personal animosity between the two coaches appeared to add extra motivation for Mourinho last season, while Pep grew weary under the strain, at one point exclaiming that his rival was 'the chief, the f**king man'. Despite Barcelona dominating El Clasico battles, with the 5-0 victory in November 2010 a particularly memorable performance, Mourinho had the last laugh, pipping Pep to La Primera podium last year, with Madrid's 2-1 victory at the Nou Camp in April rubbing salt into Barça's wounds.

Arsene Wenger and Alex Ferguson

This famous rivalry has mellowed in recent years, coinciding with Arsenal's failure to challenge for the title, but Ferguson and Wenger were once sworn enemies. The Frenchman's arrival at Highbury in 1996 heralded a fresh battle at the top after Ferguson had already fought off Dalglish and Keegan, and this meticulous, intellectual character known as Le Prof was an altogether different breed of adversary. "He's a novice and should keep his opinions to Japanese football," said Ferguson shortly after Wenger took over, but the Arsenal manager didn't appear such a novice when he led the Gunners to a Premier League and FA Cup double in his second season in charge.

Brian Clough and Don Revie

The greatest managerial rivalry of all. Brian Clough's previous outspoken criticism of Don Revie's Leeds piled a huge amount of extra pressure on the former Derby boss when he replaced his adversary at Elland Road in 1974. Revie had left to take the England job, but his influence remained through the close-knit relationship he had forged with his players. Revie and his team were offended at Clough's suggestion that they had cheated their way to success and the players' allegiance to their previous boss resulted in Clough being given the sack after just 44 days in charge. The extent of the rivalry was revealed during a TV discussion after Clough's exit, with Revie's face a picture of disdain throughout.

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