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FourFourTwo's 50 Best Football Managers in the World 2018

50 Best Football Managers in the World
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20. Thomas Tuchel (PSG)

PSG is a happier place to be under Tuchel than it was during the dying days of Unai Emery’s reign. The genial German has injected a sense of fun at the training ground and the players have responded with a record-equalling run to begin the season (11 Ligue 1 wins and counting).

The Champions League remains the Holy Grail, and there are still major questions about their ability to go all the way as a team, but with Tuchel at the helm you sense PSG have their best-ever chance of getting their hands on football’s most coveted prize.

The German has been willing to make tough decisions in his short tenure so far – see his dropping of Kylian Mbappe after the Frenchman turned up late to a meeting – and could be the firm hand PSG have needed for some time. – James Eastham

19. Phillip Cocu (Unattached)

Having worked under famous names Louis van Gaal and Guus Hiddink during his illustrious playing career, Cocu was always well prepared to become a good coach – but few expected such swift success.

The former Barcelona midfielder served as Bert van Marwijk's assistant in reaching the 2010 World Cup Final with Holland, and then took the reins at hometown club PSV two years later, initially as caretaker.

Three Eredivisie titles in five seasons followed, but his summer move to Fenerbahce turned out disastrous: the Turkish side won only three of Cocu’s first 15 games, leading to an inevitable sacking. – Michael Yokhin

18. Antonio Conte (unattached)

David Luiz, Willian and Diego Costa may not think much of his man-management skills, but Conte left the Premier League with the second-best win ratio in its history (behind Pep Guardiola), and the third-best points-per-game record (after Guardiola and Alex Ferguson). He also added the 2017/18 FA Cup to his 2016/17 Premier League title.

Failing to qualify for the Champions League, however, meant Conte’s dismissal from Chelsea felt inexorable even while he put their players through the first week of pre-season this summer.

Still, the 49-year-old has shown that he’s more adaptable than almost any other coach around – and it looks highly likely that he’ll be the one chosen to mop up Julen Lopetegui’s mess at Real Madrid. So what next? – Huw Davies

17. Janne Andersson (Sweden)

Andersson is certain to be remembered as one of Sweden’s best-ever coaches, thanks in part to his decision to ignore one player in particular.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic hinted at his desire to return ahead of the 2018 World Cup, but modest Andersson was having none of it, so the professional caricature had to content himself with Visa adverts instead. Team spirit is of monumental importance for Andersson, which is how he led unheralded IFK Norrkoping to the 2015 Allsvenskan title.

Sweden overcame Holland and Italy in World Cup qualifiers, and – with the magnificent Andreas Granqvist succeeding Zlatan as skipper – exceeded all expectations in Russia, reaching the quarter-finals. Tactically astute and an excellent man manager who digs out his players if they throw sock tape on the dressing room floor, Andersson is now a hero. – Michael Yokhin

16. Luis Enrique (Spain)

Nine titles in three seasons. Enrique, love him or loathe him, was a tremendous success at Barcelona and warrants acclaim for his achievements.  

Now with Spain, he is determined to do with the national side what he did with Barça: make them tougher to beat and build a strong spine, but also play a brand of football that is direct and attacking. Ideally, that will conclude in success.

After the farcical scenes in Russia, it’s on ‘Lucho’ to make sure Spain are taken seriously once again as an elite side – starting with more results like their 6-0 trouncing of Croatia. He isn’t one to be messed with, and la Roja stand the best chance of regaining their edge with the fitness fanatic Asturian in charge. – David Cartlidge

15. Marcelino (Valencia)

Coaches who spend time away from the game often find their reputation augments while they’re off gallivanting, but Marcelino was worth the wait for Valencia. He took Villarreal from second-tier anonymity to the Europa League semi-finals in four years from 2012 – leaving the Yellow Submarine on the eve of 2016/17 – but got to work quickly after arriving at Mestalla last summer.

His influence instilled much-needed calm on and off the pitch, with smart signings on a limited budget and tactical discipline creating a new-look side that secured a return to the Champions League at the first attempt. – Andy Brassell

14. Lucien Favre (Borussia Dortmund)

The experienced Swiss coach’s spell at Nice might just be distilled to reviving Mario Balotelli’s career for many observers, but it was about so much more than that.

Don’t get us wrong, that was mightily impressive, but Favre followed up snaring a Champions League place ahead of giants Lyon and Marseille by stabilising a team which lost star turns Hatem Ben Arfa and Dalbert ahead of last season.

There was a Europa League last 32 place thrown in, and his legacy upon leaving for Borussia Dortmund – immediately rejuvenated under him – was the big-money sales of Jean Michael Seri and Alassane Plea, who both reached maturity under Favre. – Andy Brassell

13. Eusebio Di Francesco (Roma)

Moving from Sassuolo to one of Serie A’s top clubs was always going to be difficult, but Di Francesco managed it perfectly. That he did so while overcoming the losses of a Roma icon (Francesco Totti), his best defender (Antonio Rudiger) and most potent attacker (Mo Salah) only reinforces that belief.

With such a talent drain, the affable 49-year-old managed to not only maintain the third-place finish achieved by his predecessor Luciano Spalletti, but also push the Giallorossi to the Champions League semi-finals.

Second-season syndrome may be proving a potent force this term – now, after losing goalkeeper Alisson to Liverpool – but Di Francesco remains a coach on the rise. – Adam Digby

12. Leonardo Jardim (Monaco)

This season has been Jardim’s toughest campaign at Monaco to date, and even culminated in his sacking, but that shouldn’t detract from what he achieved during the first half of the year – and indeed, long before that.

The equanimous 44-year-old performed a minor miracle by guiding the Principality outfit to Ligue 1’s 2017/18 runners-up spot despite the sales of Benjamin Mendy, Tiemoue Bakayoko, Bernardo Silva and Kylian Mbappe before the season kicked off.

Monaco’s buy-and-sell policy has run out of steam now, but Jardim’s personal stock remains high thanks to the immense job he did during four-and-a-half years in charge. He won’t be short of admirers when the top jobs open up again. – James Eastham

11. Tite (Brazil)

Brazil wisely extended Tite’s contract to 2022, ignoring criticism for his rotation of the captaincy and being “prepared to go to the grave with Gabriel Jesus”. He should have been appointed long before 2016, when he followed Dunga’s second disastrous spell by winning 12 and drawing two of the Seleção’s remaining 14 World Cup qualifiers, taking them to Russia as joint-favourites.

But two years of anticipation ended abruptly in Kazan, where Belgium’s Roberto Martinez outwitted Tite in their quarter-final by playing Kevin De Bruyne as a false nine with Nacer Chadli in midfield and Romelu Lukaku on the wing. You can’t plan for that. – Huw Davies

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