In the world of football, it’s often the head coach or manager who takes the limelight while the vital contributions of assistant managers go unnoticed. This article seeks to change that by acknowledging the pivotal roles played by assistant managers in football and providing a comprehensive list of some of the best assistant managers currently excelling in their roles within clubs and national teams.
The Crucial Role of Assistant Managers
Assistant managers in football are the unsung heroes who work tirelessly behind the scenes, supporting the head coach or manager in a multitude of ways. Their responsibilities are far-reaching and essential for a team’s success. Here’s an in-depth look at what assistant managers do:
- Tactical Insight: Assistant managers work closely with the head coach to devise game plans, strategies, and formations. They provide valuable input that maximizes the team’s strengths and exploits the opponent’s weaknesses.
- Training and Development: Overseeing training sessions, assistant managers ensure that players are adequately prepared for matches. Their focus is on skill development, physical fitness, and nurturing players’ growth.
- Man-Management: Building strong relationships with players, assistant managers play a critical role in maintaining team morale and discipline. They act as a bridge between the coach and the players, offering support and guidance.
- Scouting and Recruitment: Identifying potential signings, analyzing opponents, and studying their strategies are common tasks for assistant managers. Their insights play a significant role in making informed decisions.
- Matchday Assistance: On game days, assistant managers maintain close communication with the head coach, offering real-time observations, feedback, and suggestions. They contribute to decisions that can sway the outcome of a match.
The Best Assistant Managers in Football
In the dynamic world of football, it is often the head coaches and star players who hog the spotlight, leaving the assistant managers, the unsung heroes, in the shadows. Yet, these dedicated individuals make significant contributions to their respective clubs and national teams, often playing an integral role in shaping the destiny of the teams they serve. Let’s delve deeper into the world of assistant managers and recognize up to 20 of the best assistant managers in football, highlighting their contributions and impact.
1. Rui Faria
Rui Faria, a seasoned football tactician and former right-hand man to the legendary Jose Mourinho, has brought his wealth of experience to almost all the big clubs Jose Mourinho, including Manchester United. His extensive tactical knowledge and astute man-management skills have left a significant imprint on Jose Mourinho‘s success.
2. Mikel Arteta – Man City
Once a talismanic figure on the pitch for Arsenal, Mikel Arteta transitioned seamlessly into his role as an assistant manager.
At Man City, he played a pivotal part in implementing a fresh footballing philosophy, while also nurturing the next generation of Man City players, offering them invaluable guidance and mentorship. In addition, he helped Pep Guardiola to win the Premier League and the Carabao Cup as his assistant.
Now, Arteta is one of the best Managers in the Premier League as he’s leading Arsenal to potential success.
3. Zeljko Buvac – Liverpool (formerly)
Zeljko Buvac’s name is synonymous with Jurgen Klopp‘s Liverpool revolution. Though he took a sabbatical from the sport, his time with Liverpool earned him recognition for his exceptional tactical insights, which played a vital role in Liverpool’s impressive achievements.
4. Steve Holland – England National Team
As the assistant manager to Gareth Southgate, Steve Holland has been instrumental in guiding the England National Team to new heights. His contributions led the team to the final of the 2018 FIFA World Cup and the 2021 UEFA European Championship, showcasing his prowess as a tactical and motivational force.
5. Juan Carlos Carcedo – Atletico Madrid
Juan Carlos Carcedo’s partnership with Atletico Madrid’s head coach, Diego Simeone, has been pivotal to the club’s renowned defensive resilience. Their collaboration has formed the backbone of Atletico’s playing style, which emphasizes a robust defence. Carcedo’s work behind the scenes, although often unnoticed by fans, has significantly contributed to Atletico’s impressive domestic and international achievements. Notable accomplishments include winning La Liga titles and reaching the UEFA Champions League finals, where their disciplined defensive structure played a crucial role.
6. John Eustace – Queens Park Rangers
In the competitive realm of the Championship, John Eustace has been quietly making a name for himself as an assistant manager at Queens Park Rangers. Eustace’s focus on nurturing young talents and his tactical contributions have garnered attention within the football community. His work at Queens Park Rangers reflects not only his dedication to developing emerging players but also his impact on the team’s performance in the highly competitive English Championship.
7. Miguel D’Agostino – Argentina National Team
Miguel D’Agostino played a pivotal role as an assistant manager to Lionel Scaloni during Argentina’s triumphant 2021 Copa America campaign. While Lionel Messi’s brilliance often took centre stage, D’Agostino’s contribution was vital in terms of tactical organization and team success. Argentina’s Copa America victory was a testament to D’Agostino’s ability to coordinate a well-structured team that could harness the talent within the squad, ultimately leading to their triumph on the international stage.
8. Jody Morris – Unattached (formerly Chelsea)
During Frank Lampard’s tenure at Chelsea, Jody Morris served as an assistant manager and gained recognition for his role in nurturing the club’s young talents. Chelsea’s commitment to promoting youth players was evident during this period, and Morris played a significant part in this initiative. His influence extended beyond tactical insights, as he helped develop and integrate emerging talents into the first team, contributing to Chelsea’s successful blend of youth and experience.
9. Paco Ayesteran – Unattached (formerly Valencia)
Paco Ayesteran, during his time as an assistant manager at Valencia, brought a wealth of experience and tactical acumen to the club. His impact was evident in Valencia’s performances, both domestically and in European competitions. Ayesteran played a crucial role in shaping the team’s tactical identity and success, particularly during his tenure with the club, showcasing his importance in the coaching setup.
10. Rui Barbosa – Sporting CP
Rui Barbosa’s role as an assistant manager at Sporting CP in Portugal has contributed to the club’s recent successes. While specific achievements may vary, his involvement in shaping the team’s tactical setup and maintaining consistency has played a significant part in Sporting CP’s competitive edge in domestic and European competitions.
11. Massimiliano Fusani – Italy National Team
Massimiliano Fusani’s contribution as part of the Italy National Team’s coaching staff was paramount during Italy’s victorious Euro 2020 campaign. Italy’s tactical organization and resilience were key factors in their triumph. Fusani’s role behind the scenes, in collaboration with the head coach, contributed to the team’s impressive performances and ultimate success on the European stage.
12. Paul Trollope – Brighton & Hove Albion
Paul Trollope, serving as an assistant manager at Brighton & Hove Albion, brings a wealth of experience and tactical insights to the club. His role has contributed to Brighton’s performance in the highly competitive Premier League. The club’s ability to maintain their top-flight status reflects Trollope’s impact in the coaching setup.
13. Carlos Compagnucci – Villarreal
Carlos Compagnucci’s contribution to Villarreal’s coaching setup has been vital to the club’s successes, including their notable victory in the UEFA Europa League. His tactical insights and collaborative efforts with the head coach have played a crucial role in shaping Villarreal’s style of play and achievements in both domestic and European competitions.
14. Javi Mallo – Celta Vigo
Javi Mallo’s work as an assistant manager at Celta Vigo has not gone unnoticed. His tactical knowledge and contributions are crucial to the club’s performance in La Liga, one of the top football leagues in the world. The team’s ability to compete and maintain its standing in La Liga is a testament to Mallo’s influence and the effectiveness of the coaching staff’s work.
15. Fernando Hierro – Unattached (formerly Spain National Team)
Fernando Hierro, a former assistant manager for the Spain National Team, played an essential role in Spain’s journey to the round of 16 in the 2018 FIFA World Cup. His experience and insights were invaluable in coordinating the team’s strategies and fostering a competitive spirit. While Spain fell short of winning the tournament, Hierro’s contributions were integral to their performance on the global stage.
16. Gary McAllister – Unattached (formerly Rangers)
During his tenure as an assistant manager at Rangers, Gary McAllister played a pivotal role in the club’s domestic success. His guidance and experience were instrumental in helping Rangers achieve remarkable feats, including winning league titles. McAllister’s contributions behind the scenes were crucial to the team’s achievements during his time at the club.
Assistant managers in football are the unsung heroes who play a crucial role in a team’s success. Their tactical acumen, training expertise, and man-management skills are integral in shaping a winning team.
As we’ve seen, some of the best assistant managers in the footballing world have made indelible marks on their respective clubs and national teams. It’s high time we give them the recognition they deserve for their invaluable contributions to the beautiful game. These best assistant managers in football truly are the unsung heroes elevating the sport to greater heights.