Most Successful Managers of the Premier League Era

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The Premier League has been blessed with some very successful teams, and behind them all were very successful managers.

A manager isn’t just the one to pick the starting line-up; they are so much more than that. They are the leader in the dressing room, they’re tasked with getting the best out of players both on and off the pitch, and their personal management is critical to both individuals’ and the team’s success.

With that in mind, who are the greatest and most successful managers of the Premier League era? Who were perennially producing quality sides? Who did pundits always look to for sure bets?

Most Successful Managers in the Premier League Era

Sir Alex Ferguson: The Best of the Best

You can’t think of successful Premier League managers without thinking of the legendary Sir Alex Ferguson. The 79-year-old has an incredible history, winning by far the most trophies in England as a manager.

In 26 years managing Manchester United, Ferguson won 38 trophies, with an astonishing 13 Premier League titles, as well as two Champions League titles and five FA Cups. He is universally considered to be the greatest football manager of all time, even being knighted by the Queen in 1999.

His success at United truly signifies the importance of a manager to his team. In his final season, which was 2012/13, he comfortably led his team to the title. The following season, United finished seventh.

Not only that, but the Red Devils have never been the same since. The closest they have come to reclaiming the title was when they finished second, but they were still 19 points behind title-winning neighbours Manchester City. They have never come close to the Champions League either.

It’s highly unlikely we’ll ever see a manager dominate football for such an extended period of time the way Ferguson did. His success is a testament to his determination, talent and sheer will to win.

Jose Mourinho: The Special One

Although no manager has really been a serious challenger to Ferguson’s throne, perhaps the one that has come closest is Jose Mourinho. Unlike Ferguson, he never spent very long at a single club, but it’s his short-term success that has defined him as a manager.

During two separate spells at Chelsea, he won three league titles, two FA Cups and three League Cups, all in the span of just seven seasons. Known for his defensive, pragmatic approach, the self-proclaimed ‘Special One’ is a serial winner, plain and simple.

His 2004/05 Chelsea team famously conceded just 15 goals in the entire league, which is a record to this day. He also held the record for most points won with 95, until Manchester City broke that a few years ago.

He wasn’t able to win the league again with United, but he did come as close as anyone post-Ferguson, finishing second, as well as winning the League Cup and Europa League during his two-and-a-half seasons.

Mourinho has had his low points, being sacked mid-season on three separate occasions, but after controversially taking the job at Tottenham Hotspur, if anyone can finally lead them to trophies, it’s him.

Pep Guardiola: The Cadillac of Football Managers

Another one of the greatest managers of all time is Pep Guardiola, who is the polar opposite of Mourinho. Whereas Mourinho believes possession and beauty of play are irrelevant, Guardiola takes a much different approach.

Coming from Barcelona, his style of play is to dominate possession, and he preaches the beautiful positional play that came from Johan Cruyff and has been developed throughout history.

After a trophy-laden four year stint at Barca, he then moved to Bayern Munich for around five years, before taking his talents to the Premier League with Manchester City. He’s responsible for the only 100-point season in league history, as well as back-to-back titles.

Guardiola signed a new contract earlier this season and is expected to remain with City for at least the next few years. Despite a poor early start to the campaign, they remain the favourites to reclaim the title and have built a very solid defensive base.

Something that is not often associated with Guardiola’s teams, the Citizens have kept nine clean sheets in 11 games, which is a very impressive record. It shows how despite being one of the greatest managers of all time, he continues to change and improve his tactics in order to succeed.

Guardiola could easily win another league title or two before calling it quits, and he will surely be remembered as one of the greatest managers to ever grace the Premier League.

Sam Allardyce: The Premier League Relegation Specialist

While all of the other managers mentioned have managed star-studded players, spare some thought for one who hasn’t: Sam Allardyce.

Dubbed ‘Big Sam’, Allardyce has a very impressive record having managed ten mid-table/relegation-threatened clubs: he has never, not once, been relegated from the Premier League.

He does not play attractive football, mainly because he knows that with the players he has at his disposal, he can’t. He has never managed a top club – the closest he has come is England’s national team, and he left after just 67 days amid internal issues.

Allardyce focuses on a strong, solid defence, and it’s always gotten results for him. His most famous success was the great escape he pulled off with Sunderland in 2015/16, successfully guiding a weak and divided team to survival against all odds.

Now, he has taken on a very difficult task with West Bromwich Albion. But with his track record, you wouldn’t bet against him.

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