Home BETTING TIPS Football is entering a new era of unproven managers

Football is entering a new era of unproven managers



We know that football moves in cycles and trends, be it culturally or tactically. Different players, formations and styles come into fashion, and that can begin to impact what is truly important to football clubs, even when they are run like businesses.

This summer is already a great example of that. The pressure at the elite level of the game is intensifying with every passing season; there are more clubs who expect to win than trophies to claim, but now, how a team wins is becoming as if not more important. The way a coach wants to play has become more prominent in the last 10 or 15 years, but have we reached a point where it is style over substance?

There are plenty of top jobs in England and abroad becoming vacant, and the men in the running for them all seem to have lots in common; they play attacking, bold, risky but entertaining football, without achieving much with it, not because they are bad coaches, but because they have just started their careers.

Enzo Maresca inspired Leicester to an immediate Premier League return in his first managerial season in English football and that appears to be enough for Chelsea to hire him as Mauricio Pochettino’s replacement. Bayern Munich sacked Thomas Tuchel, a serial winner throughout his career, after he failed to win the Bundesliga title for the first time in 12 years, and replaced him with Vincent Kompany who, like Maresca, won the Championship at a canter with Burnley, but failed to keep them competitive in the Premier League last season. Although Kieran McKenna has decided to remain at Ipswich, he received similar attention from Chelsea, Manchester United and Brighton following their promotion.

Why? Because this is the trend. Both men are disciples of Pep Guardiola; Maresca his one-time assistant at Manchester City and Kompany his captain. He has changed football so much across the board wherever he’s been; his spells at Barcelona, Bayern and City have meant the style in Spain, Germany and England has evolved in his image. He is a genius, but crucially, his ideas lead to winning; every year, his teams are successful. But if a top club doesn’t play like one of his teams, they are perceived to be behind the curve; anyone would dream of hiring him, and anyone who has worked closely with him and had success implement similar ideals is a good option.

Paying for potential in players is nothing new; you only need to look at the list of the most expensive transfers ever. Possibility has a premium, and older players are either at the highest level already and therefore almost impossible to sign, or perceived to be on the decline and no longer worth the heftiest fee. That is now becoming true of managers; the best examples being Tuchel at Bayern and Erik Ten Hag at Manchester United. Both have won numerous trophies, but also endured recent failures in their current or former jobs. Do owners believe they are tainted, and therefore look elsewhere for someone with an upward trajectory? The concept of a ‘young, forward-thinking head coach’ is extremely valuable these days, especially in an era of football where the entire role is changing to be part of a larger management structure.

But there is always someone who bucks the trend. On Saturday, Carlo Ancelotti will hope to win his fifth Champions League crown when Real Madrid face Borussia Dortmund at Wembley. The 64-year-old has managed to stay relevant for almost 30 years of management, winning titles in all of Europe’s top five leagues.

Tactically, he cannot be pinned down by one philosophy; his Chelsea team was attacking and expansive, his Milan team safe and structured to attack through central areas, and his first Madrid team most effective out wide. His main strength is affability, and that allows him to mould into what he needs to be to win; he is as relevant today as he was at Juventus in the 1990s, despite overseeing a team full of players who were toddlers at most on the day he won his first major European crown in 2003.

Ancelotti, though, is a dying breed. Philosophies and systems have long been the most important weapon in the managers arsenal, but this summer has seen the idea of their success trump evidence on a wider scale. We are truly entering the age of ‘the concept coach’.