The English Premier League (EPL) is widely considered to be the most competitive and entertaining football league in the world. It was founded in 1992 and has been the stage for many unforgettable moments, exciting matches, renowned players, and legendary managers throughout its history. However, it is important to note that every successful team has a skilled manager leading them. A manager who can inspire, motivate, and guide his players to achieve glory and success. A manager who can adapt to the changing times, the evolving tactics, and the diverse challenges of the league. A manager who can leave a lasting legacy and influence on the game.
In this article, we will look at the top 9 game changers and legendary managers of the English Premier League, United Kingdom. These are the managers who have not only won trophies and accolades, but also shaped the league and the game with their vision, style, and philosophy. These are the managers who have made their mark on the Premier League and the world of football.
Pep Guardiola is widely recognized as one of the greatest managers in history due to his notable accomplishments and philosophical approach. During his tenure at Barcelona, he secured a total of 14 trophies within a span of four years, which included two Champions League titles. He also garnered three additional trophies while leading Bayern Munich. He joined Manchester City in 2016, and has taken the club to new heights of success and excellence.
Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City team is known for their attractive style of football, characterised by a focus on retaining possession, precise passing, fluid movement, and innovative playmaking. The squad boasts a talented roster including players such as Kevin De Bruyne, Sergio Aguero, Raheem Sterling, and David Silva. He has also improved their skills with his coaching and tactics.
Additionally, he has made wise additions to the team, like Ederson, Aymeric Laporte, and Bernardo Silva. He has also given chances to young talents, such as Phil Foden and Gabriel Jesus.
Guardiola has won eight trophies with City, including three Premier League titles. He has achieved multiple record-breaking accomplishments, including the highest number of points (100), most wins (32), greatest number of goals (106), and largest goal difference (+79) in a single season. He has also won the domestic treble twice, the first manager to do so in English football history.
Pep Guardiola is only the second manager to achieve a Premier League victory in his debut season, following in the footsteps of Jose Mourinho. He is also the first manager to successfully defend the title since Sir Alex Ferguson. In recognition of his outstanding leadership, he has been honoured with the Premier League Manager of the Season award on three occasions, the LMA Manager of the Year award twice, and the FIFA Best Men’s Coach award once.
Sir Alex Ferguson is widely regarded as the most successful manager in the history of Manchester United and possibly in all of football. He began his tenure with the team in 1986 and retired in 2013, after an astonishing 27 years of consistent triumph and control. During his time with United, he achieved an impressive total of 38 trophies, which included 13 Premier League titles, five FA Cups, four League Cups, two Champions League titles, and one Club World Cup. He also managed Aberdeen, where he won three Scottish league titles, four Scottish cups, and one European Cup Winners’ Cup.
Ferguson’s United were synonymous with passion, power, and glory. He built many strong teams. These squads boasted some of the greatest players globally, such as Eric Cantona, David Beckham, Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney, and Ryan Giggs. He also nurtured young talents from the academy, such as the Class of 92, which included Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt, and the Neville brothers. He also had a knack for scoring late and dramatic goals, which earned him the nickname of Fergie Time.
Ferguson’s influence on the Premier League was immense, as he dominated the league for two decades, and set the standards for excellence and consistency. He also had fierce rivalries with other managers, such as Arsene Wenger, Jose Mourinho, and Kenny Dalglish. He has been awarded the title of Premier League Manager of the Season 11 times, LMA Manager of the Year four times, and FIFA Best Men’s Coach once.
Jose Mourinho is a prominent and polarising figure in the Premier League, known for his success as a manager. After leading Porto to victory in the Champions League, he joined Chelsea in 2004 and famously declared himself as “the Special One.” He lived up to this moniker by winning three Premier League titles, three League Cups, and one FA Cup during his time with the Blues. He also managed Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur, where he won the Europa League, the League Cup, and the FA Community Shield.
Mourinho’s style of management is based on pragmatism, discipline, and winning mentality. He is a master of tactics, mind games, and motivation. The individual is widely recognized for his charming and assertive demeanour, which frequently garners both interest and controversy. He has engaged in numerous rivalries and disputes with other managers, players, and members of the media. Furthermore, he holds an impressive record as one of the most accomplished managers globally, having earned 25 trophies throughout his professional career.
Mourinho is the first manager to win the Premier League in his first season, and the only manager to win the Premier League with two different clubs. Additionally, he holds the distinction of being the initial manager to achieve league championships in four distinct nations: Portugal, England, Italy, and Spain. He has been honoured with the Premier League Manager of the Season award on three occasions, LMA Manager of the Year award three times, and FIFA Best Men’s Coach title twice.
Arsene Wenger is the longest-serving and most successful manager in Arsenal’s history. He joined the Gunners in 1996, and revolutionised the club and the Premier League with his methods, his signings, and his style of play. During his time with Arsenal, he achieved a total of 17 trophies, which included three Premier League titles and seven FA Cups. Additionally, he successfully led Arsenal to the finals of the Champions League in 2006, although they ultimately lost to Barcelona.
Wenger’s Arsenal played attractive, attacking football. They were called the Invincibles. In the 2003/04 season, Wenger’s Arsenal became the first and only team to go unbeaten in a 38-game Premier League season, winning 26 and drawing 12. They also set a record of 49 games unbeaten in the league, which spanned over two seasons. Wenger’s Arsenal had the top players in Premier League history. These players included Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp, Patrick Vieira, Robert Pires, and Cesc Fabregas.
Wenger greatly impacted the Premier League. He brought new ideas and innovations, like nutrition, fitness, scouting, and youth development. He also promoted a philosophy of playing football with flair, creativity, and elegance. Three times he was honoured as the Premier League Manager of the Season, twice he was awarded the LMA Manager of the Year, and once he was given the title of FIFA Best Men’s Coach.
Jurgen Klopp is one of the most charismatic and popular managers in the Premier League. He joined Liverpool in October 2015. Before that, he had success at Borussia Dortmund. At Dortmund, he won two Bundesliga titles and made it to the Champions League final. He brought his trademark style of intense, pressing, and attacking football to Anfield. Because of this, Liverpool became one of Europe’s top teams.
Under Jurgen Klopp’s leadership, Liverpool has been an exhilarating team to watch. Star players like Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino, and Virgil van Dijk have been instrumental in their success. Additionally, Klopp has also enhanced the abilities of the players he inherited, including Jordan Henderson, James Milner, and Georginio Wijnaldum. He has reached 3 finals with Liverpool, winning the Champions League in 2019 and the Club World Cup in 2020.
However, his biggest achievement was ending Liverpool’s 30-year wait for a league title. In the 2019/20 season, Klopp’s Liverpool were unstoppable, winning 32 out of 38 games, scoring 85 goals and conceding only 33. They amassed 99 points, the second-highest total in Premier League history, and won the title by 18 points, the biggest margin ever.
In addition, they achieved multiple records, including the longest streak of home wins (24), the highest number of points after 21 games (61), and the earliest clinching of a title (with seven games remaining). Klopp made history as the first German manager to win the Premier League and joined an elite group of Liverpool managers to win both the league and the European Cup, alongside Bob Paisley and Joe Fagan. He was recognized with several accolades, including being named Premier League Manager of the Season, LMA Manager of the Year, and FIFA Best Men’s Coach for the second time.
Claudio Ranieri is known as the Tinkerman, for his frequent changes of tactics and personnel. He has managed several clubs in Italy, Spain, France, and Greece, but his most memorable spell was with Leicester City in the Premier League. He took over the Foxes in July 2015, when they had just escaped relegation by a whisker. He was expected to struggle, but he defied all odds and expectations, and led Leicester to the most unlikely and incredible title triumph in football history.
Ranieri’s Leicester were a fairy tale story, a team of underdogs and rejects who became champions. He formed his team with Jamie Vardy’s speed and strength, Riyad Mahrez’s speed and strength, Wes Morgan’s stability and guidance, Robert Huth’s stability and guidance, N’Golo Kante’s determination, and Danny Drinkwater’s persistence. He also fostered a strong bond and spirit among his players, and kept them focused and motivated throughout the season.
Leicester started the season as 5000/1 outsiders, but they stunned the world with their performances and results. They topped the table at Christmas, and never looked back. In their first season in the Premier League, they achieved 23 wins out of 38 games, with a total of 68 goals scored and only 36 conceded. This performance earned them the title with a 10-point lead over their closest competitors. Additionally, their manager Ranieri made history by becoming the first Italian manager to win the Premier League. He was also honoured with awards such as the Premier League Manager of the Year, LMA Manager of the Year, and FIFA Best Men’s Coach.
Ranieri’s second season was less successful, as he struggled to replicate the magic of the previous campaign. He was sacked in February 2017, after a poor run of results that left Leicester in danger of relegation. However, he had already written his name in the history books, and earned the admiration and respect of the football world.
Kenny Dalglish is widely recognized as a legendary figure for Liverpool Football Club, having achieved success both as a player and manager. During his time as a player, he led the team to six league titles and three European Cups. As a manager, he continued his success with three more league titles and two FA Cups.
He also had a successful stint with Blackburn Rovers, where he accomplished one of the most remarkable feats in Premier League history. In October 1991, Dalglish took over Blackburn when they were in the second division. He led them to promotion in his first season, and then to a fourth-place finish in their first Premier League season. He spent a lot of money to sign Alan Shearer, Chris Sutton, Tim Flowers, and Graeme Le Saux. He built a strong team that competed with Manchester United.
In the 1994/95 season, Blackburn and United were locked in a thrilling title race, which went down to the wire. On the final day, Blackburn lost 2-1 to Liverpool, but United could only draw 1-1 with West Ham, handing the title to Blackburn by one point. It was Blackburn’s first league title in 81 years, and Dalglish’s eighth as a player and manager. He resigned shortly after, but his achievement remains one of the greatest in Premier League history.
Antonio Conte arrived at Chelsea in 2016, after leading Italy to the quarter-finals of the European Championship. He inherited a team that had finished 10th the previous season, and quickly turned them into champions. He changed the formation to a 3-4-3 system, which suited his players perfectly. He unleashed the best of Eden Hazard, Diego Costa, and N’Golo Kante, and made astute signings like David Luiz and Marcos Alonso.
Conte’s Chelsea were dominant, resilient, and ruthless. They won 30 out of 38 games, setting a new Premier League record. They also scored 85 goals and conceded only 33, the best in the league. They won the title by seven points, and also reached the FA Cup final, where they lost to Arsenal. Antonio Conte became the fourth manager to achieve a Premier League victory in his debut season. Notably, he was also the first to secure this title while utilising a three-man defensive strategy. However, his second season proved to be less triumphant as he faced conflicts with both the board and certain players.
Despite winning the FA Cup by defeating Manchester United in the final, Conte’s team finished fifth and failed to qualify for the Champions League. He was sacked in July 2018, but he had already proven his tactical genius and his impact on the Premier League.
Mauricio Pochettino didn’t win any trophies with Tottenham Hotspur. But he made the team really good. He made them one of the best teams in the Premier League. Pochettino started coaching Spurs in 2014. Since then, they finished in the top four five times in a row. In the 2016/17 season, they achieved second place, their highest ranking in the Premier League. Additionally, they reached their first-ever Champions League final in 2019 under his leadership, ultimately losing to Liverpool.
Pochettino’s philosophy was based on high pressing, fluid movement, and attacking flair. He developed young talents like Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Christian Eriksen, and Son Heung-min into world-class players. He also instilled a winning mentality and a strong team spirit in his squad. He was widely praised for his achievements at Spurs, especially considering the limited budget and resources he had compared to his rivals. He left the club in November 2019, but his legacy and influence remain.
We have looked at the top 9 game changers and legendary managers of the English Premier League. These are the managers who have not only won trophies and accolades, but also shaped the league and the game with their vision, style, and philosophy. These are the managers who have made their mark on the Premier League and the world of football. Who do you think is the most influential manager of the Premier League? Let us know in the comments below.