FFT's Premier League manager power rankings 2014/15: your club's boss rated
The league campaign's over, and now all you can do is count down the days until you see Robbie Savage embarrass himself on the FA Cup final special edition of Pointless.
In the meantime, though, check out FFT's rankings of the 20 Premier League managers this season based on their achievements in all competitions. Disagree? Let us know on Twitter @FourFourTwo (but be nice - we've got feelings, you know...)
1) Jose Mourinho
Jose’s eighth domestic league title came at a canter, but the Portuguese prince has kept his own standards high even when his team’s finally dipped towards the end of the campaign. After a 3-0 defeat to West Brom in the penultimate game, Mourinho wagged a finger at everyone else – and sort of had a point. "If I have to blame anybody, blame Man United, Man City, Arsenal and Liverpool for letting us win the title so early,” he huffed mischievously. Well, quite, but there’s no getting away from the fact that Chelsea were imperious for a lot of the season with all the hallmarks of a Mourinho side. Simply, they won more stuff, with a League Cup thrown in for good measure.
2) Ronald Koeman
The ice-cold Dutchman made one of the season’s hardest jobs look easy, guiding a team stripped of its most important players upon arrival to a seventh-placed finish (which may be good enough for Europa League football, depending on the result of the FA Cup final) after some terrific work in the transfer market. Eventually, his side only finished four points behind Mauricio Pochettino's Tottenham, and two behind Lambert, Lallana and Lovren at Liverpool. Most expected the Saints to drop into the bottom half – a delirious Phil Neville even predicted relegation – but Koeman’s steady hand kept the south-coast outfit a force to be reckoned with and even improved on last season's record points haul by four.
3) Garry Monk
Koeman’s work wasn’t completely unexpected after progressive spells in the Eredivisie, but the same can’t be said of the Premier League’s youngest boss. Former Swans defender Monk helped the Liberty Stadium outfit limp to the end of last season after a decaying spell under Michael Laudrup, but steadied a listing ship before steering the Welsh side to a record Premier League points haul. They finished a comfortable eighth despite the January exit of Wilfried Bony, beating both Manchester United and Arsenal twice en route.
4) Alan Pardew
Not everyone was convinced by a dishevelled Pards ditching Newcastle for a relegation-threatened Palace side bemoaning one win from their last 14 league games, but in reality it made sense. He was universally hated on Tyneside for pandering to Mike Ashley’s needs, after all, and followed one of the best men possible into the Selhurst hot seat in Neil Warnock. It wasn’t going to get worse for them.
But as it happened, it got a little bit better than that – if the season had started when Pards took over at Selhurst, Palace would be sixth in a table, thanks to a blistering start of three wins in his first four matches, then four on the trot between March and April. Onwards and upwards for the Eagles.
5) Tony Pulis
The cap-fancying drill sergeant did what he does best, keeping West Brom well clear of relegation danger after the sorry sojourn of Alan Irvine. He’s currently enjoying his best win percentage at any club (45% in all competitions), but now faces the tough task of hauling the Baggies into the top half for the first time since 2012/13. Credit too for the way he’s kept a wantaway Saido Berahino quiet and focused on the task in hand.
6) Nigel Pearson
Leicester’s hard-headed supremo has muddied the waters with touchline take-downs and journalist jibes this season, but he also has to take his large share of credit for masterminding his team’s remarkable escape from relegation. The Foxes wiped away a terrific start to slump to the foot of the table for 20 matches, but an incredible run of six wins from seven matches lifted them clear of the drop zone. To cap it all, they finished with a 5-1 win over QPR – their biggest ever Premier League win. Proof that standing by your man isn’t always the worst option... even if he was ‘sacked’ for about half an hour in February.
7) Mark Hughes
Quietly efficient leadership from Hughes secured Stoke’s second top-half finish in succession, achieved once again with frugality having only paid a transfer fee for former Barça prodigy Bojan (and just €1.8 million at that). It’s the first time the Potters have collected 50 points in a Premier League season (they finished with 54), and now it’s up to their Welsh boss to push on towards Europe. That final-day demolition of Liverpool was just reward for another good year. "Players' representatives view us as a viable option, which is encouraging," said the 51-year-old. "We get a lot more choice of players than in the past."
8) Tim Sherwood
The former Tottenham chief can only be judged on a short space of time here admittedly, but the 46-year-old really turned around a team that looked positively awful under Paul Lambert.
Indeed, Villa were at one stage just a point ahead of Burnley having netted a paltry 13 goals from their first 25 matches, but Sherwood’s arrival coincided with speedy improvements at the sharp end and, most importantly, huge wins over the likes of West Brom, Sunderland and old club Spurs. A momentous Wembley win over Liverpool has given Villa fans a first FA Cup final in 15 years to look forward to.
9) Arsene Wenger
It’s getting a little tiresome talking about another season of same old for Arsenal, though like last year they face the prospect of FA Cup glory with a final against Aston Villa to look forward to next weekend.
They’ve achieved four fewer points than last season’s fourth-placed finish, however, and this is now their 10th consecutive season finishing outside the top two.
Post-Christmas, their form was terrific – a monkey-shedding victory at Manchester City contributing to the Gunners taking 36 of a possible 39 points after defeat at Southampton – and while this season does feel like progress in some ways, the north Londoners were never in the title race after a sluggish start.
10) Dick Advocaat
His tenure may prove to be short and sweet – he's already spoken of his spell at the club in the past tense – but the Dutchman has done the job he was brought in to do; keeping Sunderland safe for another year.
The Wearsiders had lost six in 10 before Advocaat was parachuted in, but were beaten in just two of his first eight at the helm. A derby victory over Newcastle was followed by home humiliation against Palace, but the experienced ex-Rangers boss organised his team for a five-game unbeaten run that saw them safe, sealed with a vital goalless draw at Arsenal. Perhaps most incredibly, he even managed to oversee Danny Graham’s first ever Black Cats goal at the 28th attempt against Everton.