The 2020/21 season is underway, and as usual, clubs will have goals and objectives to meet at the end of the campaign. The pressure to deliver these targets usually falls on the managers, and among them, there are some managers who particularly have a point to prove during the course of the season and at the end.
Here, TOP SOCCER BLOG looks at 5 managers who have something to prove this season.
1. FRANK LAMPARD (CHELSEA)
With just a single season into his managerial career (where he guided Derby County to the Championship Playoffs), Frank Lampard was appointed as Chelsea manager to replace Maurizio Sarri, who left for Juventus. Despite his little managerial experience, Lampard impressed at Stamford Bridge in his first season — grooming homegrown talent into the first team, making the top four, and reaching the FA Cup final.
Convinced by his exploits last season, the club backed him heavily in the transfer market with over £200m to bring in the likes of Hakim Ziyech, Timo Werner, Ben Chilwell, Kai Havertz, Thiago Silva and Edouard Mendy. With the huge investments, expectations are now high at Stamford Bridge, and Lampard is expected to contend for the Premier League and other titles and also make the Blues a force to reckon with in world football.
Can “Super Frankie” deliver?… time will tell.
2. JOSE MOURINHO (TOTTENHAM HOTSPURS)
When Jose Mourinho got sacked by Manchester United in December 2018 after a poor run of results, his reputation was at an all-time low. Due to his attitude and playing style, many believe his time at the highest level is over, but almost a year later (precisely in November 2019), he got another chance as he was brought in to replace Mauricio Pochettino as Tottenham Hotspurs’ manager. Mourinho managed to stabilise the team and also secured Europa League qualification.
Ahead of the 2020/21 season, he was backed in the transfer market with the signings of Gareth Bale, Sergio Reguilon, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, Joe Hart, Matt Doherty, and Carlos Vinicius. Now boasting a squad to rival that of the other top sides in the Premier League, Jose has the perfect opportunity to further enhance his reputation as a manager who likes upsetting the odds — having previously done so at Porto, Chelsea, and Inter Milan.
With the likes of Liverpool, Man City, Man United, and Chelsea still struggling to find their feet, Mourinho’s Tottenham can have a go at the EPL title; who says no?
Mourinho can also prove that his tactics (regularly being condemned by critics as “old school”) is still relevant in the modern game.
3. ANDREA PIRLO (JUVENTUS)
One of the best players of his generation and one of the best midfield Maestros of all time, Andrea Pirlo, was appointed as first-team coach at Juventus to replace the uninspiring Maurizio Sarri ahead of the new season. The onus is now on Pirlo to prove his capacity on the bench as he did on the pitch during his playing days. He has to maintain the club’s dominance in Serie A, win the much-coveted Champions League trophy (the club’s ultimate target), and manage the big egos in the dressing room — which contains the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Paulo Dybala, Leonardo Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini, Gianluigi Buffon, etc.
Juventus have backed Pirlo with the signings of Arthur, Weston McKennie, Dejan Kulusevski, Federico Chiesa, and Alvaro Morata.
4. ANTONIO CONTE (INTER MILAN)
Conte was appointed as Inter manager last summer to revive the club’s fortunes and end Juventus’ dominance in the Italian Serie A. With the likes of Romelu Lukaku and Lautauro Martinez, Inter started the season impressively, but towards the end of the season, their form faded, and the squad’s lack of depth became glaring.
Ahead of the new season, additions were made to the squad as the likes of Achraf Hakimi, Aleksander Kolarov, Matteo Darmian, and Arturo Vidal were brought in. Alexis Sanchez was also signed permanently while Ivan Perisic and Radja Naingollan returned from loan. All these and Christian Eriksen’s arrival (last January), means Conte has a strong team at his disposal and will now be under pressure to start delivering immediately.
5. PEP GUARDIOLA (MANCHESTER CITY)
Guardiola is now in his fourth season as manager of Manchester City. To his credit, he has delivered trophies on the domestic scene and made his side play some mind-blowing football, but the club’s ultimate aim for appointing the former Barcelona boss is to win the UEFA Champions League trophy — and he hasn’t delivered in that regard so far. Last season was an excellent opportunity to win it, but Guardiola’s City were surprisingly eliminated by Lyon in the quarter-finals of the 2019/20 UEFA Champions League.
With his contract ending this season, he has to win the Champions League to cement his legacy at Man City and to also shut down critics who regularly attribute his success at Barcelona to the brilliance of Lionel Messi.
- RONALD KOEMAN (BARCELONA)
- SCOTT PARKER (FULHAM)
- ANDRE VILLAS-BOAS (MARSEILLE)
- THOMAS TUCHEL (PSG)
- UNAI EMERY (VILLARREAL)
- OLE GUNNAR SOLSKJAER (MANCHESTER UNITED).