Premier League

Manager Power Rankings: Ten Hag on the RISE, Potter PLUMMETS

Paul Macdonald
Erik ten Hag, Manchester United, 2022/23

Pep Guardiola remains top of the FootballTransfers manager rankings, but there’s a new name that’s closing in.

Erik Ten Hag has quietly gone about his business at Manchester United reshaping the team and getting results. United have moved on the verge of the top four while he’s also been able to get rid of a major problem in the form of Cristiano Ronaldo.

Jurgen Klopp is also suffering from a crisis of form as Liverpool lurch from one disastrous result to the next and Liverpool’s entire season could be on the line within the next few weeks – a long way from last season’s incredible campaign.

Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal are thrilling the Premier League, while Luciano Spalletti is performing miracles with an exciting Napoli side.

Elsewhere Christian Streich’s incredible achievements with Freiburg are recognised by his debut in the list, and Christophe Galtier’s sorting of PSG into a somewhat functioning unit means he enters, too.

Who are the best managers in the world? FT outlines the best coaches and how they are currently perceived by fans, clubs, and the media alike.

Our bespoke algorithm takes into account a huge number of factors, including:

– Club current form, adjusted for the strength of the competition

– European form

– Style of play

– Reputation

– Media buzz

– Recent trophies won

– Experience

– Recent additional achievements

All of this comes together to form the below list. Do you agree with our algorithm? Let us know in the comments.

1. Pep GUARDIOLA (Manchester City)

Man City boss Pep Guardiola chats to Phil Foden during a Champions League tie with PSG

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There’s just no longer any doubt that Pep Guardiola is, by some distance, the best coach in the world and he continues to prove this by the incessant brilliance of his team.

Throwing him Erling Haaland now almost seems unfair. He faces a major challenge in the form of Arsenal this season but he will feel that his team are more than up to the challenge being thrown down from north London, and he continues to reinvent his team’s style of play.

2. Carlo ANCELOTTI (Real Madrid)

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Real Madrid head coach Carlo Ancelotti

Carlo Ancelotti has been able to get one final tune from this Madrid team, with his core of ageing players, and this is likely to be the last run together with them.

But after a career traversing most of the major clubs in Europe (and Everton!) Ancelotti remains a coach at the very highest level, one who has the respect of players.

And now he’s overseeing the the injection of the new generation, from Tchouameni to Camavinga, Rodrygo to Vinicius.

3. Erik TEN HAG (Manchester United)

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Erik Ten Hag Ajax 2020/21

From where Erik Ten Hag and Manchester United were after being demolished by Manchester City in October, ETH has done a tremendous job to steady the ship and string together a run of victories.

From this season being a potential write-off, their consistent performers have coincided with the integration of the quite brilliant Casemiro, who has transformed the centre of the field, making them a different proposition.

There’s shoots of positivity, and it’s about maintaining the momentum.

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4. Jurgen KLOPP (Liverpool)

Could Jurgen Klopp be tempted to leave Liverpool for the German national team?

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What is happening at Liverpool? It would appear Klopp is trying to play a certain way that his current crop of players are not capable of playing.

The midfield is being swamped week in, week out, and the goals aren’t coming either, with Mo Salah in particular woefully off form.

Throw in injuries to Diogo Jota and Luis Diaz and this is a side that is a shadow of the one that performed so well last year – and some of that has to be on the coach.

5. Julian NAGELSMANN (Bayern Munich)

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Julian Nagelsmann once turned down Real Madrid – could he do it again?

Nagelsmann is, unfortunately for him, in a similar vein to Thomas Tuchel, a coach that can be abrasive and can often overshadow his unquestionable talent.

But Bayern have overcome their recent poor form and look in a more commanding position again both in Europe and domestically. And on their day he has a simply fantastic team at his disposal.

The Germans could be the biggest threat to Manchester City and PSG to claim the Champions League and the manner in which they have strolled through their group should raise concerns for the rest of Europe.

6. Mikel ARTETA (Arsenal)

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Mikel Arteta, Arsenal, 2021/22

Can we now say that Arsenal are a force to be reckoned with? Mikel Arteta’s side ended last season strongly but few would have expected how impressive they have been this year.

But it’s now crunch time for Arteta and it will be hugely intriguing to see how he, personally, deals with it. He has been vociferous and vocal on the touchline in virtually every match, but he may be peaking too early – there’s still well over half of the season remaining.

7. Luciano SPALLETTI (Napoli)

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Napoli’s comeback to greatness has been one of the most joyous things to watch this season, and Spalletti has been at the heart of that.

It’s a fantastic second run for a storied coach who has been one of the tactical innovators of the 21st century. But Inter have brought them back down to Earth and Milan are only five points behind – it’s a crunch time for everyone’s second team this season.

8. Christian STREICH (Freiburg)

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What is happening at Freiburg is nothing short of a miracle and Streich must take most of the credit for sending a provincial German team to the brink of something truly special.

Make no mistake; with the form they are on, Champions League qualification could be a genuine possibility, while they top their Europa League group with three wins out of three. What is happening? A brilliant coach is taking an unconventional team to incredible heights and we should enjoy it for as long as it happens.

9. Antonio CONTE (Tottenham)

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Antonio Conte during Burnley v Tottenham

It was going rather well for Antonio Conte, solidifying his position as one of the game’s best thinkers by guiding Tottenham back to the Champions League, and yet of late it has went a little rough again.

The fans are wondering whether to revolt or whether to back him and yet, this Spurs team remain well in the hunt for top four and can also look forward to Champions League knockout football next month.

It may seem doom and gloom but it can’t be that bad, surely?

10. Christophe GALTIER (PSG)

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Many a high-profile coach has struggled to get the best out of the basket case of a club which is PSG, but Galtier, at least, has shown some signs of finding a formation that could work consistently.

There’s still the clear chance that they could implode but with Lionel Messi returning as a World Cup winner, and with Kylian Mbappe showing himself to be an undisputed great, there’s every chance that Galtier could take PSG to that elusive Champions League crown.

11. Stefano PIOLI (Milan)

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While everyone has been focusing on the exploits of Napoli, riding clear at the top of Serie A, Milan and Pioli have went quietly about their business.

Despite a sticky start to the season they are only five points behind the high-flying Neapolitans and it’s testament to the team that Pioli has built that they remain very much in the hunt for retaining their crown.

12. Simone INZAGHI (Inter)

Simone Inzaghi, Inter

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It’s a little disconcerting that Inzaghi could have been close to the sack given the upheaval he’s had to work through at Inter since Conte’s departure over a year ago, but it might have been close.

Yet the win over Barcelona – as backs-to-the-wall as it was – followed by the stunning result in Camp Nou will have given him a reprieve and given his side the chance of reaching the knockouts in unlikely style.

And defeating Napoli has breathed new life into the title race this season. He and Inter are far from done yet.

13. Graham POTTER (Chelsea)

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After a very solid start built on a decent foundation in defence, Potter’s time at Chelsea is rapidly turning into a nightmare.

It’s not all of his doing; the injury run of late has been catastrophic with the likes of Reece James and Ben Chilwell missing way too much football – but the players he does have should be performing better than this.

Would Potter be under pressure? Maybe not yet, but his reputation is taking a bit of a beating in the meantime.

14. Lionel SCALONI (Argentina)

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How can the winner of the World Cup trophy not find a place on the list?

How good a coach is Scaloni? Time will tell. Some distinctly average bosses in the past have lifted football’s greatest trophy, but we can say that he negotiated Argentina’s early setback in the tournament brilliantly and was smart enough to stay out of Lionel Messi’s way.

What’s next for him, we can’t say, but he can get to enjoy the moment of being a World Cup winner.

15. Sergio CONCEICAO (Porto)

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Mauricio Pochettino, linked with Man Utd

Porto, despite losing players every season, remain one of the most well-coached sides in Europe (heavy defeat to Club Brugge notwithstanding) and Conceicao is obviously a key component of that.

He has been on the wanted list for major clubs for some time, and he will be picking his right moment to extend beyond Portugal and into a top job somewhere else in Europe – probably by this time next season.

Benfica might be topping the league and their players getting the plaudits, but Conceicao has been doing it consistently better, for longer.

16. XAVI (Barcelona)

BArcelona manager Xavi

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There remains a lingering doubt over where Barcelona are as a club and whether Xavi has the correct profile to lead them.

Their Champions League exit has been compounded by a stuttering restart after the World Cup, with a derby draw against Espanyol and a fortunate 4-3 Copa del Rey win over minnows Intercity.

It’s not the Barcelona of old – far from it – and in the next month or so we will likely find out a lot more about this team, and their coach.

17. Abel FERREIRA (Palmeiras)

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Palmeiras’ Copa Libertadores run came to an end at last, losing in the semi-final to Athletico Paranaense over two legs.

But Ferreira name was mentioned as one of the candidates who could replace Graham Potter at Brighton before they appointed De Zerbi.

It’s no surprise; Ferreira’s back-to-back Copa Libertadores winners have been the standout team in South America for some time, and Ferreira has precious little left to prove in the continent.

18. Roger SCHMIDT (Sporting)

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It’s impossible to ignore the feat of Schmidt’s Benfica team, any longer.

They are flying high in the Primeira Liga, they’ve qualified in smart fashion from a Champions League group containing PSG and Juventus, and they’ve got a €120m World Cup winning midfielder who is the covet of most teams in the world.

And yes, they have a pretty decent coach into the bargain as well in the form of the travelled and respected Schmidt.

19. Diego SIMEONE (Atletico Madrid)

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Simeone’s Atletico team aren’t just losing momentum, he as a coach is also losing relevance and perhaps faith in his way of football.

They just haven’t impressed in multiple outings, including in defeats to Club Brugge and Leverkusen, and they have regressed from being hard to beat in every match to being porous, and built on a high-value attack which, unfortunately, can’t score enough goals.

Simeone still has enough kudos in the tank to be a hugely highly-regarded coach, but perhaps he has been in Madrid just a little too long by this point.

20. Didier Deschamps (France)

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Deschamps deserves huge credit for the way he made changes halfway through the World Cup final to flip the game and give his side the chance of victory.

But it wasn’t to be and so now he has the decision to make – whether to stay on for the Euros, or bow out as one of France’s most worthy – and perhaps unfortunate – coaches.

If he were to revert back to club football, there would no doubt be clubs interested in his services.

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