Since Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich took over at Chelsea, there has been no shortage of money, expenditure and success. The club have racked up three Premier League titles, four FA Cups, two League Cups, two FA Community Shields and one UEFA Champion’s League.
However, with all the wealth comes the pressure for managers to have instant success. When targets cannot be reached, the Russian hasn’t been afraid to axe his high-class managers.
Some have reached heights more considerable than others, yet, mostly in a short period of time. These are the top five Chelsea managers during Roman Abramovich’s reign.
5. Avram Grant
Following the departure of the legendary José Mourinho in September 2007, Avram Grant did what his predecessor couldn’t do and reached the UEFA Champion’s League final. Although Chelsea failed to win, adding to their League Cup final defeat to Tottenham, Grant was deemed successful at the club. He took the race for the Premier League title to the last day, as Chelsea finished runners-up, however he was axed at the end of the season.
4. Carlo Ancelotti
Carlo Ancelotti joined Chelsea in June 2009 and led them to a league and FA Cup double in his first season in charge; a first for the club. In his second season, the club started impressively, but coupled with the loss of form in the winter months and the record transfer fee arrival of Fernando Torres, Chelsea stuttered towards the end of the season. Ancelotti was sacked at the end of his second, despite his decent record which saw the club score a record goal-tally in the 2009/10 Premier League season.
3. Guus Hiddink
As manager of the Russian national side, Guus Hiddink had ties with Roman Abramovich. When Luiz Scolari was sacked on February 2009, Abramovich brought in Hiddink as interim manager – and as a favour. As caretaker, Hiddink lost just once in his 22 games in charge, leading them to the UEFA Champions League semi-final, where they controversially lost on away-goals to eventual winners, Barcelona. With the highest win percentage since Abramovich took over the club, he led Chelsea to the FA Cup trophy in his four months at the club.
2. Roberto di Matteo
Another interim manager, Roberto di Matteo took Chelsea from the brink of collapse to the holy grail of Abramovich’s success. Trailing 3-1 to Napoli after the first leg in a UEFA Champion’s League round of 16 tie, he steered the club to mountainous comeback. This was followed by an inspiring victory over Barcelona in the semi-final, before the club won the illustrious trophy in Munich for the first time in its history – becoming the first London club to do so. That was added by the FA Cup win against Liverpool, and Di Matteo became an icon at the club. He was given the job on permanent basis for the next season, however, he was infamously sacked in November.
1. José Mourinho
Despite the wealth and riches of Abramovich, Mourinho is noted as the man who revolutionised Chelsea into a world force. Following his European success at modest Portuguese outfit FC Porto, the self-proclaimed 'Special One’ was brought in by Abramovich with high hopes. He led Chelsea to the Premier League title in his first season in 2004/05, and again the next season. He also won the League Cup twice, one FA Cup and one Community Shield, making him the most successful manager of Chelsea. However, following spats within the club’s hierarchy, Mourinho and Chelsea split by mutual consent, shocking the entire football world. The 'Special One’ is still loved by the Chelsea faithful, and this summer could mark his return, as reports continue to link the Portuguese tactician with the Stamford Bridge hot-seat.
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