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Most Overrated Managers?
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Over Rated Managers

First of all, I had to consider what over rated actually meant before I wrote this article and I decided that I would go with media perception, rather than fans' perception. For starters fans' perception seems to change depending on the last result! So my over rated list is those that the media portray as better than they have shown themselves to be.


Pep Guardiola

No list of over rated managers could possibly be complete without the king of them all, Pep Guardiola. Until the day he manages to win trophies without having the best team at his disposal he will always have question marks over him. Guardiola's time with Bayern Munich, in particular, raised lots of question marks after his success with Barcelona. There he took over the best team in Europe and took them backwards, until they were the 4th best side (at best) in Europe behind Juventus, Real Madrid and Barcelona. This despite having huge sums of money to throw around.

At Barcelona, he inherited a great team in disarray because of the previous manager and his sole task was to restore harmony. Yes he did do that well and early on the players responded well to his training methods. However towards the end of his time there, as it was again at Bayern, there were blatantly obvious signs that his micro-management of every aspect of a game was no longer having a positive effect on his team. Quite the opposite. Players, like all people, grow to hate having someone constantly looking over their shoulder telling them how to do everything.

Now at Manchester City he has once again failed to live up to the expectations of a blank chequebook that has been placed at his disposal. Hundreds of millions of pounds have been spent but the defence is still heavily reliant on Vincent Kompany. Last season was, in his own words, a failure, despite the spending, so this summer saw another £200m+ spent, yet still no centre back arrived, leaving the side with an even more unbalanced look from the previous year. With his remit to bring European success to Manchester City, it is difficult to see him achieving that with this team. If he does manage it though, then that would remove him from this list immediately.



Louis van Gaal

Forget about his time at Manchester United, that is not why he is in this list, this is about the reasoning behind his appointment. Somehow van Gaal has worked magic, because each time he leaves a job he gets the credit for every bit of future success that team achieves! No one seems to realise that just maybe he was holding the team back while he was there and that the success achieved when he left is down to releasing the shackles of his presence. It always seems that the credit is instead given to him. It is, quite frankly, bizarre.


Zinedine Zidane

This one might seem an odd one, because he has done brilliantly and might well actually be a great coach but he is in here because it is far too early to know if he is great, yet the media are lauding him like he has already proven himself to be great. You only find out how great a manager actually is when they face problems and solve them. So far he has not had to do much more than be Zizou. The question is, will he ever have to truly face adversity while managing Real Madrid?


Didier Deschamps

Forget the water carrier stuff, make no mistake Deschamps was an excellent player but I have my doubts about his ability as a manager. Everytime I watch one of his teams I always have that feeling that the players are not being allowed to perform to their best. There is this sense of disappointment each time, that the team is not achieving what it should do, particularly his France side. The players seem stifled by his tactical instructions.


Gian Piero Ventura

You only have to go and watch his Italy's side embarrassingly poor performance against Spain in the recent international break to understand his inclusion. Words fail me at just how tactically inept that performance was.


Thomas Tuchel

I just do not understand why this guy was so hyped up. He tries to overcomplicate a simple game and it hindered Borussia Dortmund on a regular basis. Even if you forget his constant needless tinkering with the tactics, there is his inability to work within a team framework. It was his constant fall outs with his bosses added to very public criticisms of his players that saw him removed. Tuchel made his own position untenable, when he should have been at the apex of his power within the club. Some people are their own worst enemy.




Ronald Koeman

I know Barcelona were keeping tabs on him, but they do that with all their former players, as the Barcelona role is as much about PR as management these days. It is as much about the incumbent president appeasing the fans than picking the best available manager. So his being kept tabs on by them is no reflection on his actual ability as a manager or coach. However that is enough for the media to fawn over a man who has simply not deserved the adoration that has gone his way.

Koeman is a man that never stays in a job for long, constantly jumping ship for money, then publicly ripping into his players for wanting to do the same thing! He is certainly not afraid to hang his players out to dry, rather than deal with things in house. His lack of ambition when the option is there to attack a team holds him back, his sole focus is on keeping things tight at the back. It is not that he is a bad manager, just not as good as some believe.

This season with Everton is a chance for him to prove himself, but so far his decisions have been odd, to say the least. Dropping Tom Davies to the bench for most games makes no sense, especially when the competition are the struggling Davey Klaasen, the not yet affecting games for the Toffees Gylfi Siggurdsson and the way over the hill and halfway down the downward slope Wayne Rooney.


Gareth Southgate

It beggars belief that he is now the England manager with nothing to suggest he should have even been in the running for the role. I really do not think I need to say any more as it feels like it is just his friends in the media talking him up, rather than anyone genuinely believing he deserves to be England's manager.


Slaven Bilic

Slaven is a very well liked guy, a real character, which seems to be why he is so highly rated. However, as a coach he struggles tactically and constantly wants to play players out of position to shoehorn certain players into his West Ham United team. His man management during the Payet debacle also showed a lot to be desired.


Mark Hughes

Maybe it is his arrogance that winds up other managers, but it is difficult to look past it at times. In the past Hughes set himself and his staff apart from the players, travelling separately to games and never mingling with them, which was a big part of his downfall at Manchester City. Now at Stoke City, despite having ever larger sums to sign players to take the club forward, it is difficult to see any signs of progression from the Tony Pulis era.


Paul Clement

An extremely highly rated coach who just plays the most mind numbingly boring kind of football as a manager. Until he can figure out how to get a team to create and score chances (less shots taken so far than Romelu Lukaku on his own!) he will always be out of his depth as a manager. However, he is still a young man, despite his similar struggles with Derby County and now Swansea City, it is far too early to judge him. You just have to hope he will learn from the experience and get better. However, he should be doing his learning at a lower level, away from the spotlight, making his mistakes where he does not have to suffer at the hands of the media.


Eddie Howe

Highly rated enough to be considered as the long term replacement for Arsene Wenger at Arsenal by Wenger himself, but I have to admit I do not understand why. People point at how well he is doing with Bournemouth and how little money they have because they are 'little old Bournemouth' without actually looking at the full story. The Cherries may have a small stadium and not be considered a big club, but they have a billionaire backer who has put up a lot of money to build this team.

Howe's transfer dealings since promotion have been terrible, very few new players making the grade yet and showing little sign of being well planned. Worse is his tactical acumen, you always come away from a game with the sense that his team is not performing to its fullest, that it could do more. That the constant passing around is not getting the most from the players at his disposal.


Alex Neil

When I talked about arrogance and Mark Hughes I could easily have been referring to Neil, though Neil's arrogance is based on something only he seems to see. Neil got the job at Norwich City and was hugely out of his depth, but refused to heed any advice, as he thought he knew better, and it led to his dismissal. The board had tried to convince him to accept an experienced older head as a number two to advise and help him, but Neil dismissed that option out of hand. Sometimes you have to accept help in every walk of life. It is not weakness to admit you are not perfect and there are gaps in your experience and knowledge, it can be a strength. To be fair, so far he is doing well with Preston North End, but it is the long term that his arrogance causes problems for him.




Chris Hughton

I think because he is so well liked, many football people calling him the nicest man in the game, it is difficult to criticise Hughton. He is a good manager, but he is also limited at Premier League level. His time at Newcastle United and Norwich City showed a manager who is good enough to easily win at Championship level but struggles badly to step up. It is like he loses confidence in his team and stops them playing the good football they did play. Just eke out draws where and when they can. Early signs are that he is going to be a little more expansive with Brighton, so maybe he can finally prove himself at Premier League level. I hope so, I have never heard anyone with a bad word to say about him and it would be good to see a nice guy succeed.


Martin O'Neill

His teams played a style of football akin to the old Wimbledon, very direct long ball football, yet he was somehow revered as a football god due to his moderate success at Leicester City. What people seem to overlook is how poor his long term planning was and what a mess he always left clubs in when he moved on due to that. He would buy too many older players on long (and overpaid) contracts that he would then not even change the team to utilise. The money was just wasted as they would never get a meaningful look in, yet would be paid more than the players that were playing regularly. Only his time with Celtic could be considered a genuine success and, even then, it is difficult to judge how well he did with just one genuine other competitive side in the league.


Garry Monk

Unless you speak to Leeds United fans, Monk is held in high esteem as a manager for the work he did at Swansea City. There were people who felt he was unlucky to lose his job there. Not for me though, he was not ready for the job and he is still not ready for management. Maybe he never will be, but tactically he is terrible. His teams start off well and then gradually fade, maybe he can change that at Middlesbrough.


David Wagner

Again this one may seem harsh, but it is just too soon to judge him. He has done brilliantly so far with Huddersfield Town, but it will be a couple of years before we can truly judge him.


Gary Rowett

I nearly called him the lower league Tony Pulis, but that is an insult to Pulis. He has garnered a good reputation purely on the fact that his teams are seen to be rubbish teams that he has made slightly less rubbish by making them far less entertaining to watch. He trod water with Burton Albion and Birmingham City and now his Derby County side look no better either.


Adrian Boothroyd

How on earth has he managed to get involved with the England set up once more? The long ball king of modern football involved with international football for one of the bigger football nations, it is insane or idiotic, maybe even both.


Frank de Boer

I chose this list before his time at Crystal Palace, so it is perhaps out of date now having him. Even during his time with Ajax he was losing the fans due to his boring, tedious style of football. De Boer is just not a particularly good manager even if you ignore his short Inter Milan spell.


Roberto Mancini

Winning the Premier League with Manchester City's billions has somehow turned him into a great manager in the eyes of many. Everytime a top job comes up his name is mentioned in connection with it, despite the fact that, in the end, he failed to make any impression in European football with City, despite spending more money than just about any other manager in history. Since then he has flopped everywhere else as well, with Mancini's tendency to fall out with at least half of his squad at any given moment causing problems.



Jurgen Klinsmann

Klinsmann is still living off the back of Yogi Loew's achievements with Germany, as, make no bones about it, when Klinsmann was in charge of his national side Loew was the brains behind it all. Klinsmann was barely even in the country during the build up to be involved in it, managing remotely from the USA for most of the time. Since then he has gone nowhere with the US national side, stifling their ability, but the alternatives are just so bad that he looked good in comparison.


Billy Davies

I just find it bizarre that this little poison dwarf is still living off the back of his first time managing Nottingham Forest, when, in the end, he failed to take them up anyway. His constant demands for more money to spend, his lifestyle and his ability to upset entire squads of players all add together to make up a manager that will be lucky to ever get paid work again at a decent level.


Mark Warburton

This feels a bit harsh on both Forest and Warburton to include him, as he may well turn out to be a great manager, but, like some of the others in this list, he has yet to prove himself to be one. He did do well with Brentford but his time up in Scotland with Rangers was almost an unmitigated disaster, though with mitigating circumstances. How well he does with Forest over his time there will decide whether he is as good as the media made him out to be, as Warburton has a genuine chance to build something there under the new ownership.


Harry Redknapp

Has Redknapp ever won anything without destroying the team he is managing to do it? I just do not get the esteem this man is held in as a manager, he has never shown anything other than an ability to work the media to keep them on his side. Oh and an inability to deal with his finances, which has meant he had to turn to the family dog to help him manage them. Redknapp's time at Birmingham is the most incredible though, he took over a team outside the drop zone and did nothing more than keep them there, yet he was being heralded as some kind of footballing genius for that. I will never understand how certain managers get such a legend built around them for no particular reason.


Honourable Mention: Jurgen Klopp

He arrived at Liverpool with such a huge reputation that he has no chance of living up to it, unless he goes on to dominate English football for the next decade. Klopp is not a quick fix kind of manager, despite what many fans seem to think, so it is too early to judge his time just yet. However I doubt anyone short of a reincarnation of Bob Paisley, Matt Busby, Brian Clough and Johan Cruyff rolled into one could live up to the reputation he arrived with!

Written by Tris Burke



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