Premier League Managers Who Had a Big Impact in a Little Time
Some managers work in the Premier League for a very long time, but there many managers who don’t last longer than a season or two. Some of them have a huge impact in very little time and can turn a team’s fortunes around. Here we will look at some of the managers past and present who have had a big impact, both positive and negative, in a relatively short amount of time.
When Antonio Conte was with Chelsea he won the title in his first season but then spent the second season arguing with his players and the team board before the team finished outside the top four. During that time, he did win the FA Cup, but that was not enough to satisfy owner Abramovich. However, during Conte’s 76 matches with Chelsea, they averaged 2.14 points per game.
This led to a summer-long standoff between the coach and the owner with neither willing to be the first to concede. Conte was waiting to be fired and receive the payoff while Abramovich was hoping that another club would tempt the coach away and save him around £9 million in compensation. However, when Conte then turned up for pre-season training while Sarri was waiting to be confirmed as the new coach, Abramovich was left with no choice but to fire him. At least this season Abramovich has been spared the expense as Sarri has left to join Juventus.
Many believe that Carlo Ancelotti was treated unfairly. He spent two seasons in the Premier League, he won the domestic double in his first season and then was sacked within an hour of the second season ending after Chelsea finished in second place. Despite that, in his 76 matches with the team he averaged an impressive 2.07 points per game.
At the time the club released a statement saying, “This season’s performances have fallen short of expectations and the club feels the time is right to make this change.” However, by the following February they were releasing another statement and were probably thinking that they had been too hasty in their decision.
Guus Hiddink has both the best and worst record of Abramovich’s thirteen different managerial appointments. During his first period with the club, when he took over from Luiz Fillipe Scolari, he helped to rejuvenate the team and steered them through 11 wins out of their remaining league fixtures in 2008-09 and they also won the FA Cup.
However, his second period with the club was a lot tougher. The team were the reigning Premier League champions, but they were down in sixteenth place having slipped up under Jose Mourinho. However, Hiddink was able to inspire the team to a run of 15 matches without defeat so they at least finished in the top half of the table. In total he was in charge of the team for 34 matches during which he averaged 1.94 points per game.
Chelsea fans were never very fond of Maurizio Sarri’s style and the club certainly didn’t appreciate his habit of chain smoking. However, the man certainly has a good sense of timing. He left the club a few weeks ago with an improved reputation after securing a top three finish for the club and a European trophy. Had he stayed he would have had to better that without his best player or any chance of buying replacements. He must have been extremely happy to receive the offer from Juventus. At the end of Sarri’s 38 matches in charge, he was averaging 1.89 points per game.
Unai Emery has been in charge at Arsenal for one season now but it is not known if the club will be keeping him on much longer. He came close to winning the Europa League and had he done so then his position would certainly be secure. However, after losing to Chelsea, he now has a very moderate budget with which to try to satisfy very high expectations. However, after 38 games in charge he is averaging a very healthy 1.84 points per game.
Due to his not particularly successful time with Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur, many people forget what Villas-Boas achieved with Porto. He was in charge there for one season in which he won the domestic double and secured the title by more than 20 points in what was only the second-ever undefeated season in Portuguese football. He also broke Vialli’s record, which had stood for thirteen years, as the youngest coach (at 32 years old) to win a UEFA competition when Porto won the Europa League.
However, his achievements and tactics seemed to make very little difference to Chelsea who had recently said goodbye to Carlo Ancelotti. During his eight months with the team he won 48% of his matches, the lowest win percentage of all of Abramovich’s managers, except for Hiddink’s second spell as caretaker.
He lasted longer at Tottenham and won 53% of his Premier League games with the team. However, he left by mutual consent halfway through is second season after a 6 – 0 defeat at Manchester City and a 5 – 0 home defeat to Liverpool. Despite this, after a total of 81 games in the Premier League, he averages 1.79 points per game.
Louis van Gaal
Louis van Gaal was certainly a lot of fun to watch, even if his football wasn’t. His interviews and press conferences were always unpredictable and he could vary between extreme happiness and anger while talking about “sex masochism”, “horny players” and renaming Chris Smalling on many occasions.
However, the only time his personality came through on the touchline was his comedy fall at Arsene Wenger’s feet in 2016. During the rest of his two years at Old Trafford, he would sit lifeless on the bench, as fans grew more and more bored with each week of dull football. Everyone agreed that his time was up, even after winning the FA Cup. During his 76 matches in charge, he averaged 1.789 points per game.
Chelsea brought Gianluca Vialli to the team in February 1998 to replace Dutchman Ruud Gullit, who departed after a relatively successful season in his first managerial appointment, winning the FA Cup in his maiden campaign and finishing second place in the Premier League.
When Vialli took over, the team were already in the League Cup semi-finals and the European Cup Winners’ Cup quarterfinals. He guided the team to victory in both competitions and in his first full season in charge the team finished third in the Premier League, their highest league finish since 1970 and just four points behind champions Manchester United. They also won the FA Cup in the following season, but after two and a half years in charge, Vialli was sacked five games into the 2000-01 season after a slow start to the season and having reportedly fallen out with players such as Gianfranco Zola, Frank Leboeuf and Albert Ferrer. At the end of his 86 matches in charge, he averaged 1.77 points per game.
Bruce Rioch, the former Torquay, Middlesbrough, Millwall and Bolton manager, manged to achieve a lot in his one year in charge of Arsenal. He was at the club between George Graham and Arsene Wenger, and began on a positive note by signing David Platt and Dennis Bergkamp. However, he soon shifted Ian Wright to the left wing before dropping him, resulting in Arsenal’s best goal-scorer putting in a transfer request.
Luckily for Wright, Rioch left the team before he did. He ended the season in fifth place and a League Cup semi-final defeat. While the Arsenal board were not too worried about his results, they were annoyed by Rioch calling out the board over their transfer inactivity.
A day after he was sacked the Daily Mirror headline was, “I asked the club for 29 players… I didn’t get one”. That summer according to The Independent, Arsenal were linked with Frank de Boer, Graeme Le Saux, Robert Jarni, Alan Stubbs, Bixente Lizarazu, Jason McAteer, Paul Ince, John Moncur, Lee Bowyer, Tim Sherwood, Gary McAllister, Lee Sharpe, Zinedane Zidane, Christophe Dugarry, Les Ferdinand, Roberto Mancini, Attilio Lombardo, Jurgen Klinsmann and George Weah. However, the only person they signed was backup goalkeeper John Lukic.
Nuno – 38 matches, 1.5 points per game
After helping the newly promoted Wolves to ending the season as the highest-placed finishers underneath the Big Six, many expected Chelsea to show an interest in Nuno. He has experience managing big clubs, such as Porto and Valencai, and he has also coached in the Champions League. However, Chelsea don’t seem interested and that is sure to please Wolves as it seems likely that Nuno can achieve even more with the team. He has held this job now for longer than any of his other managerial stints, and if he completes another season with Wolves, he is sure to be able to secure bigger jobs in the future. At the end of his first season in the Premier League, he is averaging 1.5 points per game from 38 matches.