By the time the 2019/20 season was interrupted, Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham were in free fall.
Crashing out of the FA Cup and Champions League inside a week, the north Londoners were winless in six games and serious questions were being asked about their decision to appoint the Portuguese boss back in November.
Mourinho’s magic touch has been fading ever since he last lifted the Premier League title in 2015.
Following that final triumph with Chelsea, he was sacked midway through the following campaign with the Blues teetering precariously, just a point above the relegation zone.
Misery followed in Manchester, abated briefly by Europa League and League Cup wins in his first season with United.
However, the consensus has been for some time that the 57-year-old is yesterday’s man.
Football changes, and very few managers are able to change with it. That’s what makes a rare breed like Sir Alex Ferguson, who was able to transcend eras, so special.
For mere mortals, there inevitably comes a time when they are officially finished and are deemed very unlikely to return to their former heights of success.
10. Unai Emery
Emery was at the height of his powers on the continent during his time at Sevilla, where he won the Europa League three seasons in a row. That earned him a crack at the biggest job in Ligue 1, and he duly lifted that title too with PSG.
However, he also oversaw the Parisians’ famous second-leg capitulation against Barcelona in the Champions League. Replacing Arsene Wenger at Arsenal went about as well as that night in Camp Nou and he was sacked earlier this season.
9. Laurent Blanc
Blanc hasn’t returned to football since leaving PSG, where he won three titles and two consecutive trebles, in 2016.
Although the Frenchman is often linked with top jobs, the longer his hiatus continues, the harder it is to conceive of him being handed the reins at another European powerhouse.
8. Steve McClaren
Kids, it’s true. Learning the ropes alongside Ferguson at Manchester United, McClaren was once highly respected as Middlesbrough manager, winning the club their first ever trophy with the League Cup in 2004. Two years later, he took them to the UEFA Cup final. Those remarkable achievements were enough to convince the FA, who handed him the England job.
Sadly, that’s when he transformed into the ‘Wally with the Brolly’ and his reputation took a huge hit as the Three Lions failed to qualify for Euro 2008. That wasn’t quite the end of him – he won the Eredivisie with FC Twente in 2010 – but he’s been pretty disastrous at Newcastle, Derby and QPR in his homeland ever since.
7. Mark Hughes
Hughes is now almost synonymous with ‘past-it British managers who inexplicably get jobs in the Premier League at the expense of far superior, younger coaches’. It wasn’t always that way. Sparky did well with Wales in his first job and then finished sixth with Blackburn Rovers.
Chelsea were interested in his services but he eventually ended up at Manchester City. While Hughes had done well with limited resources, Sheikh Mansour’s takeover seemed too much for him and his initial spending was pretty hapless. He’s been at Fulham, QPR, Stoke and Southampton since and hasn’t been given another job since he was sacked by the Saints.
6. Cesare Prandelli
Prandelli enjoyed brilliant spells with Parma and Fiorentina, being crowned Serie A coach of the year in 2008. The Italian looked set to emulate his achievements on the national stage when he took his country to the final of Euro 2012.
Not only did Gli Azzurri lose, they failed to even get out of the group at the World Cup two years later. But the most ignominious fact of his career so far is that since then, he’s never lasted more than 25 days in a job.
5. Rémi Garde
Aston Villa fans may struggle to believe he ever really got going in the first place, but Garde did look promising in his first job at Lyon, where he won the Coupe de France.
His spell in England saw him win a grand total of three games. Most recently, he was sacked by Montreal Impact in 2019. So, while his career’s been short, he already finds himself on the managerial scrapheap.
4. Claudio Ranieri
Was his historic, 5000/1 fairytale with Leicester the work of genius, or a strange anomaly in an otherwise unpredictable career? Ranieri has won 11 major honours and arguably laid many of the foundations for Mourinho’s early success at Chelsea.
A less kind reading of his career notes that he’s had 20 different jobs, many of which have ended in tears. Having left Sampdoria in 2019, the ‘Tinkerman’ surely won’t get another top job.
3. David Moyes
While we all understand why he did it, Moyes really made a fatal error leaving Everton in 2013. The Scotsman had a fantastic spell at Goodison Park, guiding the Toffees into the Champions League. Since then, it’s been one disaster after another.
Not only did he fail spectacularly to fill Ferguson’s shoes at Old Trafford, he had a poor spell at Real Sociedad, was relegated with Sunderland, and has had two almost equally uninspiring stints at West Ham.
2. Jose Mourinho
It arguably doesn’t matter what Mourinho does for the rest of his career. With a haul of 25 major honours, he’ll still go down in history as one of the all-time greats. Sadly for the Special One, his tactics now look outdated and ineffective and the charm which defined his early years has worn off. History will still be kind to him.
1. Jurgen Klinsmann
Klinsmann led Germany to the semi-finals of the 2006 World Cup but he declined to renew his contract. Yet in the 14 following years, he’s spent just one of them in charge of Bayern Munich and other than that, has evaded club management entirely. His longest spell came with the USA, but that ended when he made a poor start in qualifying for the 2018 World Cup.
In his most recent job, with Hertha Berlin, there were questions raised over his coaching badges and his reign added more fuel to rumours about his man-management (or lack thereof). He fell out with the board over transfers, despite spending more than any other manager in Europe in the January transfer window. A month later, he was gone.
The cycles of the game have well and truly spat out all of the above.
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