Who were the best managers of 2019 in the Premier League and what made them better than the rest?
The common step for football players upon retirement is to step into management to extend their paid involvement in football and to use this opportunity to transfer the skills and experience they have gained during their career to younger generations.
As the best Premier League managers, Frank Lampard, José Mourinho, Pep Guardiola, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and some others have made the transition from player to manager, currently finding themselves in charge at prestigious clubs.
They all enjoyed tremendously successful playing and managing careers.
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The top Premier League manager, Jurgen Klopp, spent the majority of his playing career at Mainz 05. As a hard-working and dedicated player, Klopp was initially recruited as a striker, before playing as a defender for the rest of his playing career.
Klopp became the club's manager in 2001 and oversaw promotion to the top flight of German football in his third season in charge, ending a 41-year wait for Mainz’s first-ever season in the Bundesliga.
Three seasons in Germany's top division followed, including qualification for the 2005/06 UEFA Europa League, before relegation to the 2.Bundesliga at the end of the 2006/07 campaign.
Klopp left the club at the end of the following season after they failed to gain promotion straight away.
Klopp was appointed as manager of Borussia Dortmund in the summer of 2008 to rebuild a side that had finished 13th in the Bundesliga in 2007/08.
Dortmund finished sixth and then fifth, later Klopp achieved back-to-back Bundesliga titles, in addition to a German Cup win in the 2011/12 campaign.
Dortmund reached the UEFA Champions League final in 2013 under Klopp’s guidance, losing to fellow German side Bayern Munich at Wembley Stadium. After seven years of coaching the team, Klopp left at the end of the 2014/15 season.
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In 2015, Liverpool announced Klopp as Brendan Rodgers’ replacement at Anfield, giving the German the opportunity to coach an English football club.
He led the Reds to the UEFA Europa League final in 2015/16 and the UEFA Champions League final in 2017/18, although both matches ended in defeat.
Klopp was back in the Champions League final the following season, leading his side to a 2-0 victory over Tottenham Hotspur.
It was also a noteworthy domestic campaign for Klopp's Reds, who finished a point behind champions Manchester City in spite of losing just one Premier League match in the entire 2018/19 season.
Klopp did the inconceivable season by guiding Liverpool to successive Champions League finals and finally clearing the last obstacle by lifting the coveted Champions League trophy.
The German silenced his critics and showed the world why he is considered to be an elite coach. Since taking over the managerial seat at Liverpool, Klopp's high-intensity playing style has turned the Reds into one of the most exciting teams to watch.
Finally, Klopp won the Best FIFA Men's Coach Award for 2019 in recognition of his achievements throughout the year. He claimed the award ahead of Pep Guardiola and Mauricio Pochettino because of leading the Reds to Champions League glory and a club-record total of 97 Premier League points in the 2018-19 season. He was known as the top Premier League manager of 2019.
As a defensive midfielder, Guardiola played in a deep-lying playmaker's role during his playing career. He spent most of his career at Barcelona, playing a major role in Johan Cruyff's Dream Team that won the club's first European Cup in 1992, and four successive Spanish league titles from 1991 to 1994. Later, he captained the team from 1997 until his departure from the club in 2001.
Moreover, Guardiola played for Brescia and Roma in Italy, Al-Ahli in Qatar, and Dorados de Sinaloa in Mexico. Guardiola played 47 matches for the Spanish national team and appeared at the 1994 FIFA World Cup, as well as at UEFA Euro 2000.
His club won six LaLiga titles and lifted the European Cup in 1992, the same year that he won Olympic gold with Spain. He additionally played seven friendly matches for Catalonia.
Guardiola's first coaching role was with FC Barcelona's B team during the 2007-08 campaign. He achieved promotion and was quickly announced the best coach of the senior squad, replacing Frank Rijkaard at the end of the 2007/08 season.
He stamped his mark at Camp Nou as his first campaign in charge brought success in the UEFA Champions League, LaLiga, and Copa del Rey.
In general, he spent four seasons as manager of the Spanish side, winning 14 trophies across six different competitions before taking a break from football after the 2011/12 campaign.
Guardiola returned to coaching ahead of 2013/14 to replace Jupp Heynckes at Bayern Munich. He won three Bundesliga titles with silverware also coming via the DFB-Pokal, UEFA Super Cup, and FIFA Club World Cup.
Following three years in Munich, the former FIFA World Coach of the Year signed a contract with Manchester City for the 2016/17 Premier League season.
Man City finished third and then, in the next campaign, broke the Premier League record for most consecutive victories, with 18 wins between August and December 2017.
The Spanish coach lifted his first trophy in England after a 3-0 win over Arsenal in the 2018 Carabao Cup final.
The Citizens dominated throughout the 2017/18 Premier League season, with Guardiola obtaining his first league title in English football with a record of 106 goals, 32 wins, and 100 points. He is believed to be one of the best EPL managers.
The Northern Irish football coach and the former player played in his youth with Ballymena United, before signing a contract with Reading at the age of 18, however his playing career very prematurely ended at the age of 20 due to a genetic knee condition.
The former defender continued his involvement with non-league clubs Newport County, Witney Town, and the now-defunct Newbury Town while staying on Reading's club as a coach and later as an academy director.
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Rodgers moved to Chelsea as head youth coach from September 2004 after impressing first-team manager Jose Mourinho during a spell in Spain. He credits Mourinho for instilling his immaculate preparations and command of small details.
After being promoted to reserve-team manager at Chelsea, Rodgers got his first senior managerial role at Watford in 2008. The Hornets finished 13th in the Championship at the end of the season; however, Rodgers switched to Reading that summer, a spell that lasted six months.
Swansea City announced Rodgers as their new manager in 2010 and thus he coached the Welsh club to the Premier League in his first season after beating Reading in the Championship playoff final.
After keeping Swansea up in 2011/12 with stylish football and shocking top teams such as Arsenal, Rodgers replaced Kenny Dalglish as the manager of Liverpool.
The seventh place in 2012/13 was followed up by a close battle with Manchester City for the 2013/14 Premier League title. Although Liverpool finished second, Rodgers claimed the LMA Manager of the Year award.
Liverpool ended the next campaign in sixth and Rodgers departed Anfield during the 2015/16 season with the club in 10th.
Rodgers' next club was Celtic, whom he guided to two Scottish Premiership titles, two Scottish Cups, and three Scottish League Cups.
Rodgers left Celtic for Leicester City in 2019, staying there up to present to coach his third Premier League club. He has won three Premier League Manager of the Month awards so far.
As a goalkeeper during his playing career, Nuno represented Portugal at the 1996 Olympics and was part of the Porto squad that won the 2002/03 UEFA Cup and 2003/04 UEFA Champions League under Jose Mourinho.
During his playing career, he first made a name for himself in Spain, playing for three teams of Deportivo, Porto, and International in five years. He also played professionally in Russia; he was part of the Portuguese squad at Euro 2008, but never won a cap for the national team.
Espirito Santo started as a goalkeeping coach after retiring in the summer of 2010, before being given his first senior coaching appointment two years later, with the Portuguese side Rio Ave.
In his second season, Rio Ave were finalists in both of the domestic cup competitions, qualifying for the UEFA Europa League for the first time in their history.
Nuno moved to Valencia, where he obtained a fourth-place finish in 2014/15 while winning the Manager of the Month award in Spain three times.
He then spent a season at Porto before moving to England and Wolves.
Espirito Santo was appointed Wolverhampton Wanderers’ head coach on 31 May 2017 and led the club into the Premier League in his first full season.
His first season at Molineux was a triumph as Nuno led the club to promotion and the Championship title, finishing nine points clear.
Lampard initially came through West Ham United’s academy, making his Premier League debut in January 1996.
Lampard was one of the greatest midfielders of his generation at West Ham United, the club where his father had also played.
After signing for the Chelsea club in 2001 for £11 million, Lampard established himself as a prolific scorer from midfield in his thirteen years with the team, becoming Chelsea's all-time record goalscorer with 211 strikes scored in all competitions
He won three Premier League titles, four FA Cups, two League Cups and both the UEFA Champions League and Europa League with Chelsea, while he was named the Premier League Player of the Season in 2004/05.
Lampard, who also earned over 100 England caps, moved on to Manchester City in the summer of 2014, making 32 Premier League appearances while scoring six goals in his season at the Etihad Stadium.
He finished his playing career in Major League Soccer with New York City, announcing his retirement in February 2017 at the age of 38.
Lampard began studying for his UEFA A License with help from Chelsea, who allowed him to assist with academy coaching sessions.
He was given his first managerial position in May 2018, taking the reins at Championship side Derby County, whom he led to the playoff final in his only season with the club.
Just over a month after that showdown with Aston Villa at Wembley, he returned to Chelsea as head coach, replacing Maurizio Sarri.
Frank Lampard was appointed Chelsea’s head coach in 2019, returning to the club where he had a hugely successful 13-year playing career and is known as one of the most well-known PL managers all over the world.
Lampard won the Premier League Manager of the Month award for October 2019 after Chelsea's 100 percent win record in the league for that month.
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Mourinho was a midfielder whose playing career was over in a flash, choosing to study sports science and attend coaching courses to remain in the game.
In 1982, Mourinho moved to his father’s former club Belenenses, just relegated from the top flight but one of only two clubs other than Portugal’s ‘Big Three’ to win the Primeira title – albeit nearly 40 years earlier.
Mourinho went on to play for one more small club in his home town of Setubal by the name of Comercio e Industria, before hanging up his boots forever by the age of 23.
Mourinho, the incredible premier League manager, started his career in London when he was named manager of Chelsea in June 2004, before leaving early in the 2007/08 campaign.
He returned to the Blues on 3 June 2013. The Portuguese had previously a semi-professional football career before making his coaching breakthrough in the backroom staff of Sir Bobby Robson at Sporting Lisbon, Porto, and Barcelona.
After brief but successful stints in charge at Benfica and Uniao de Leiria, he won the UEFA Champions League with Porto in 2004, only a year after lifting the UEFA Europa League trophy in his first full season as manager.
In his first campaign at Stamford Bridge in 2004/05, Chelsea won their first top-flight title for 50 years with a record haul of 95 points.
They retained the Premier League crown a year later and won the FA Cup and the League Cup twice with Mourinho in charge.
Mourinho left Chelsea in 2007 and his next managerial role came with Inter Milan, where he won the Serie A title and the Italian Super Cup in his first season.
Later, Real Madrid appointed Mourinho as their coach in the summer of 2010, going on to win the Copa del Rey in 2011 and edge Barcelona to the 2011/12 La Liga title.
But after three years at the Bernabeu, Mourinho returned to England ahead of the 2013/14 Premier League season for a second spell with Chelsea.
In his first season back at Stamford Bridge, he guided the Blues to third place, four points away from title winners Manchester City.
In the 2014/15 campaign, Mourinho earned a third League Cup triumph with Chelsea after a 2-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley Stadium. A third Premier League title was then secured in 2015.
Mourinho left the club by mutual consent on 17 December 2015, departing for a second time with the Blues sat in 16th place and one point above the relegation zone.
In May 2016, Mourinho signed a three-year deal as manager of Manchester United. In his first season in charge, the club won the Community Shield, the League Cup and the UEFA Europa League.
The Red Devils finished second behind their city rivals in 2017/18 and lost the FA Cup final to Mourinho's former club, Chelsea.
Mourinho left Manchester United in December 2018, with the club lying in sixth place after 17 matches.
A return to management came in November 2019 when Tottenham Hotspur appointed Mourinho to replace Mauricio Pochettino and to join the best Premier League managers.
Solskjaer enjoyed a successful playing career before going into management, being signed by Man United from Norwegian club Molde in 1996. Solskjaer spent 11 seasons at Old Trafford, scoring 91 goals in 235 Premier League matches and helping his side win six Premier League titles.
The Norway international notably scored the added-time winner for United against Bayern Munich in the 1999 UEFA Champions League final.
He also remains the only substitute to score four goals in a Premier League game, achieving the record in a 19-minute appearance against Nottingham Forest in 1999.
In 2007, Solskjaer continued to work for Sir Alex Ferguson, coaching the first-team strikers before taking charge of the reserve team.
In November 2010, he became manager of Molde and guided his previous club to their first league title in their 100-year history in his debut season.
Molde retained their title, before going winning the Norwegian Cup in the following campaign.
Solskjaer landed his first managerial role in the Premier League in January 2014 when he was announced as manager of Cardiff City, who were lying one point above the relegation zone.
The Bluebirds were relegated after finishing 20th in the Premier League. Solskjaer returned to Molde after eight months at the Welsh club, and he finished runners-up in the Norwegian top flight in successive seasons.
In December 2018, he was confirmed as the caretaker manager of Man United for the remainder of the season.
The Norwegian signed a three-year deal in March 2019 following 10 wins out of 13 in the Premier League and a comeback win over Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League.
Wilder’s first appearances in the Football League came with the Blades after he joined them in 1986.
He played for 10 other clubs during a 15-year career as a right-back, while also having a second spell with Sheffield United.
When an injury ended his full-time playing career, Wilder joined the ninth-tier side Alfreton Town at the start of the 2001/02 season.
After only two months, he was appointed to be a player-manager and, although he was only in charge for 27 weeks, he won four trophies, including the league title.
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Wilder took charge of Halifax Town in July 2002 and led them to the Conference playoff final in 2005/06, which his side lost. He stayed until the club was wound up due to debts in the summer of 2008.
He had a brief spell as the assistant manager at Bury in League Two before returning to the Conference to take charge of Oxford United in December 2008.
He achieved promotion through the playoffs in his second season there and then secured three successive top-half finishes.
Wilder switched to another League Two club, Northampton Town, in January 2014, swapping a sixth-placed team for a side-lying bottom of the table.
His decision was justified, though, as he led The Cobblers to a 12th-place finish and then won the title the following season with 99 points.
Five days after the end of that campaign, on 12 May 2016, Wilder was appointed manager of Sheffield United, then in League One.
He won his second successive league title in his first season with the Blades, this time racking up 100 points.
After a 10th-place finish in the Championship, he achieved another promotion in 2018/19 as runners-up Sheffield United returned to the Premier League after a 12-year absence.
He was named the League Managers Association’s manager of the year, beating Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp.
Hodgson was a successful young player at Crystal Palace; however, he was never able to break into the first team. After leaving Crystal Palace, he played non-league football for several years with Tonbridge and Gravesend & Northfleet.
Later, the 23-year-old Hodgson joined Maidstone United, where he played and also served as an assistant manager to Bob Houghton.
In 1972, after a year at Maidstone, he moved to Ashford Town (Kent), while working as a PE teacher at Alleyn's School in south London. He moved to Pretoria, South Africa to play for Berea Park during the following year.
In 1974, Hodgson came back to England for his final playing spell, joining Carshalton Athletic. He supported himself by teaching at Monks Hill Comprehensive.
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In 1980, Bristol City appointed Hodgson as an assistant manager; he moved into the top job for four months.
Hodgson returned to Sweden later in the year, taking charge of two second-tier teams and then top-flight side Malmo FF, where he won five consecutive Allsvenskan titles and two Swedish Cup trophies.
In 1990, Hodgson moved to Switzerland to guide Neuchatel Xamax to European football twice before taking up the Swiss national team job.
He led Switzerland to the 1994 World Cup, their first international tournament since 1966, and Euro 1996. However, Hodgson left the Swiss national team at the end of qualification to concentrate on his managerial position at Inter Milan, which started in October 1995.
The Englishman left the Serie A club after the 1997 UEFA Cup final defeat to Schalke 04 to take charge of Blackburn Rovers. Blackburn finished sixth in 1997/98 and Hodgson was twice named the Premier League Manager of the Month, but the two went their separate ways the following season.
From 2002 to 2004, Hodgson was the United Arab Emirates manager and he moved to Finland for their national job after a short spell with Viking in Norway. After seeing out his contract with Finland in November 2007, Hodgson was appointed manager of Fulham a month later.
The 2008/09 season was a contrast to the previous season as Fulham finished seventh, their highest Premier League position.
Liverpool appointed Hodgson as their manager in the summer of 2010, however, he left the club in January 2011.
Crystal Palace announced Hodgson as Frank de Boer's replacement on 12 September 2017. In general, Hodgson has managed sixteen different teams in eight countries.
The final top Premier League manager is Arteta who started his career as a football player at Barcelona before taking in spells at Paris Saint-Germain, Rangers, and Real Sociedad.
His first experience with English football was during a loan spell at Everton in January 2005, before making the move to Goodison Park permanent six months later.
He moved to Arsenal in August 2011, where he was named club captain ahead of the 2014/15 season. The negotiations were long and hard since Everton were reluctant to let Arteta leave and the footballer’s agent requested a significant amount of money for Arteta.
Finally, Arteta asked to move to Arsenal and consented to lower his initial salary requirements by £20,000 (it was £90,000 at the beginning). The Spaniard won two FA Cups during his time with the Gunners, before retiring in 2016.
In July 2016, Arteta was announced as an assistant coach at Manchester City working along with fellow co-assistants Brian Kidd, Domènec Torrent, and manager Pep Guardiola as part of the coaching team that won the Premier League in 2017/18 with a record of 100 points.
City became the first club in 10 seasons to retain the Premier League trophy a year later, while they also won two EFL Cups and one FA Cup during Arteta's time at the Etihad Stadium.
On 20 December 2019, the ex-captain Mikel Arteta was announced to be Arsenal head coach on a three-and-a-half-year deal, replacing Unai Emery.