Some of the 13 Greatest Managers in Premier League History
Some of the finest managers in the history of football have taken charge of Premier League teams. It is one of the toughest leagues in the world to gain success but the following men have acheived far more than most that tried.
He never got his hands on the Premier League title with Liverpool, but Rafael Benitez had a memorable stint at Anfield and impressive tenures at Chelsea and Newcastle in difficult situations.
The Spaniard came very close to picking up Liverpool’s first ever Premier League title in 2009 when they were four points off Manchester United at the end of the season, but only lost two games all campaign, with 11 draws ultimately costing them.
His interim stint at Chelsea saw him finish third amid a hostile reception from fans, while Newcastle fans love him for the job of steadying the ship he managed there. 168 wins in 340 Premier League matches as a manager is a fine return.
Brendan Rodgers came even closer to becoming the first manager to win the Premier League with Liverpool in the thrilling 2013-14 season, which saw his side fall just two points short of Manchester City.
The Northern Irishman started his Premier League life with an impressive stint at Swansea, after bringing them up from the Championship. He took over Liverpool with the side not in the greatest position and transformed them into title challengers.
Things went a bit wrong for Rodgers after that incredible season, but he is now back in the Premier League and creating a fearsome Leicester City side that are Champions League challengers under his guidance.
The first Manchester City manager to lift a Premier League title, Roberto Mancini deserves credit for taking the vast investment at the club and turning it into some silverware for the first time.
The Italian took over from Mark Hughes at the Etihad and quickly took City from monied upstarts into genuine contenders, winning the Premier League in 2012 by the finest of margins ahead of Manchester United.
He couldn’t turn his success into a spell of dominance, but it was under his stewardship that City signed club legends like David Silva and Yaya Toure and moulded them into a winning side.
Not the first Manchester City manager to win the Premier League title, but the first to do it in serious style, Manuel Pellegrini’s side scored 102 goals to lift the giant trophy in 2014.
It was the Chilean’s first season in English football and it was thoroughly impressive, but he could not repeat the feat and his side had faded away badly by the end of his third season, when he was sacked.
He returned to manage West Ham in 2018 and actually did a solid job in very difficult circumstances at an unsteady club. He left in December 2019 but his reputation was hardly diminished.
Carlo Ancelotti arrived at Chelsea after a turbulent previous season for the club and he immediately won the Premier League title, scoring more goals than any team had ever manager – 103.
He got the best out of the likes of Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard as his team surged to the title. A year later he was sacked after the Blues finished second and he left the club with a superb winning percentage of 61.47%.
He is now back in the league with Everton with an even tougher job on his hands. If he can turn the Toffees into Champions League challengers, he will shoot further up this list.
The achievement of Kenny Dalglish at Blackburn Rovers should not diminish over time, as he led the club to the Premier League title in 1995 having taken over the club in 1991 when they were in Division Two.
Rovers spent a lot of money, on the likes of Alan Shearer and Chris Sutton, under Dalglish, but he still led them to incredible success, pipping Manchester United to the title in ’95 after finishing fourth and second in their first two seasons in the Premier League.
Later spells at Newcastle and a return to Liverpool were forgettable, but guiding Blackburn to the title in such a rapid rise was superb work from the Scot.
Chelsea were not in great shakes when Antonio Conte took over, finishing 10th in the Premier League in 2016 and the Italian arrived with no experience of English football.
He started slowly, but pulled off a tactical masterstroke early enough in the season to switch to three at the back and unleash Victor Moses and Marcos Alonso as wing-backs. The Blues stormed to the league title, finishing on 96 points, despite winning just three of their opening six games.
It was such great management from Conte, who was having to deal with Manchester United under Jose Mourinho, Liverpool under Jurgen Klopp, Manchester City under Pep Guardiola and Spurs under Mauricio Pochettino, and blew them all away.
Things went badly wrong in his second season, although Chelsea still won the FA Cup, but he left Stamford Bridge with 51 wins in 76 Premier League matches.
Arguably the finest Premier League title win of any and certainly the most surprising was masterminded by Claudio Ranieri when he led Leicester to glory in 2016.
The Foxes had finished 14th the previous season, six points clear of relegation, but went on the most miraculous run the following campaign, losing just three times to comfortably win the league. Arsenal were left foundering in second place a full 10 points behind the champions.
Star turns from Jamie Vardy, Riyad Mahrez and N’Golo Kante played their parts, but Ranieri deserves immense credit for putting the team together and giving them the belief to achieve the seemingly impossible.
His spell at Chelsea was good, if unspectacular, and his time at Fulham was poor, but for that one season at Leicester, he deserves enormous praise.
At the time or writing, Jurgen Klopp is yet to win a Premier League title, but barring some sort of miracle that will change in the coming months.
The German has already built a side that is good enough to win the Champions League and amass the third most points ever in a Premier League season. The Reds finished the 2018-19 season with 97 points, losing just one match. It wasn’t enough to win the league, but it would have been in any season other than that and the previous one.
Liverpool are currently romping to glory in the 2019-20 campaign and Klopp has undoubtedly built one of the best sides this country has ever seen as they continue to extend their lengthy uneaten run.
The Catalan didn’t quite get it right in his first season in charge of Manchester City, but once he did, he really did. Pep Guardiola arrived in 2016 and really got going the following year, finishing the 2017-18 season with a record 100 points and a history-setting 106 goals. It was complete dominance from City who finished 19 points clear of second place Manchester United.
Guardiola then held off the challenge of an incredible Liverpool side to finish on 98 points the following season, therefore recording the two highest points totals in Premier League history.
City look set to miss out on making it three titles on the spin in 2020, but Guardiola created a team completely impossible to match for two seasons.
Three Premier League titles to his name as Arsenal manager, Arsene Wenger has also managed more Premier League games than any other boss in history, with a total of 828 matches.
The Frenchman changed a great deal about English football, bringing in a new age of professionalism which led his Gunners side going the entire 2003-04 season unbeaten, and 49 games in total.
It is remarkable that the 2004 glory was Wenger’s last Premier League title and the lengthy spell without another league crown has cost the Frenchman some of his legacy, but what he did between 1996 and 2004 was remarkable at Highbury and the Emirates.
An entirely different story to that of Arsene Wenger, Jose Mourinho has come and gone, flitted between clubs, but also has three Premier League titles to his name. All three came at Chelsea over two spells, while he also spent time at Manchester United and is now in charge of Tottenham.
Mourinho’s first Chelsea team were irresistible, something they hadn’t come close to being before he arrived. They won the title in his first two seasons in charge, before departing. He returned in 2013 and the Blues dominated the 2014-15 season, lifting the title again.
His spell at Manchester United appears to have been underrated, managing a second place finish in 2018, something that no one else has come close to replicating since the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson.
Mourinho has the potential to slide back down this list if his tenure at Tottenham does not go well, but his achievements at Chelsea were phenomenal.
Sir Alex Ferguson
There isn’t really any debate about this one as Sir Alex Ferguson has won the Premier League title 13 times, 10 times more than any other manager. Considering Arsene Wenger and then Jose Mourinho were considered genuine rivals to the great Scot, they are light years away from him in terms of trophies.
Ferguson showed an ability to build, dismantle and then rebuild teams that no other manager has been able to match. His first Premier League title came in 1993 and his final one in 2013 after an insane level of consistency which saw United’s worse league finish being third over that period.
Wenger may have gone past Fergie in terms of games managed, but Sir Alex has the most Premier League points as a manager, with 1,752 and that will never be surpassed.