Sir Alex Ferguson, Jose Mourinho, Jurgen Klopp, Pep Guardiola, Claudio Ranieri, Arsene Wenger
The manager. The boss. The gaffer.
Just who is the best manager in the Premier League era? That was the subject discussed by Gary Lineker, Alan Shearer and Ian Wright on the latest edition of the Match of The Day: Top 10 podcast.
To hear the MOTD team’s final lists, listen to the latest Match of the Day: Top 10 podcast or watch Match of the Day.
We also asked you to rank your favourites in order from the shortlist of 10 bosses, as selected by BBC Sport commentators.
Here’s the result of your selections (results correct as of 20:30 BST on Friday 10, April)..
- Match of the Day: Top 10 podcast – Premier League goalkeepers
- Match of the Day: Top 10 podcast – Premier League’s best goalscorers
Teams in brackets are teams managed during the Premier League era only (since 1992).
1. Sir Alex Ferguson (Manchester United 1992-2013)
Games: 810 Won: 528 Drawn: 168 Lost: 114 Win ratio: 65.2% Premier League title wins: 13
Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United won the title in the inaugural Premier League season in 1992-93, the first of 13 championships under him
Shearer: “What was impressive about him was how he continued to build his team when he knew that team was at its peak and he had to start again. He wasn’t afraid to get rid of players – as soon as their time was up they were out the door.
“He would adapt if he managed today. It’s what great managers do.”
Wright: “Alex Ferguson knew he needed different people around him at different stages, to freshen it up and bring in a new idea. Even when you look at the 2013 side – people say, ‘oh that’s the worst Manchester United team to win the league under Ferguson’ – they could not have won that league with that team with any other manager.”
2. Arsene Wenger (Arsenal 1996-2018)
Games: 828 Won: 476 Drawn: 199 Lost: 153 Win ratio: 57.5% Premier League title wins: 3
Arsene Wenger took Arsenal to the title three times, including in 2003-04 as his team became the only Premier League side to go through a whole season undefeated
Wright: “I remember when he did his first interview and it’s the first time anybody’s ever seen him, especially us. He had these massive glasses on, this oversized jacket – he looked like a professor, a teacher. And when he came in he explained to us what he was going to try and do – change the diet, change the training regime, he wants people to rest more, we want you to drink more water, we want you to chew your food more.
“We used to have vitamin injections directly into our arm – it’s not suspect! It was basically stuff everyone knows today, like vitamin C, B12, omega 3. He was so far ahead of his time. Wenger took you to a place where you had to be literally the best you could be, and that’s what he did with us.”
Shearer: “I used to look at that team and think, ‘how are you so fit and strong?”
3. Pep Guardiola (Manchester City 2016-present)
Games: 142 Won: 105 Drawn: 18 Lost: 19 Win ratio: 73.9% Premier League title wins: 2
The 100 points that Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City side won as they became champions in 2017-18 is a Premier League record
Wright: “You have to look at him as one of the most tactical minds of the past 10 years. We can’t hide the fact he’s spent over £1bn, but at the same time, the brand of football he has given us the past few years has been outstanding. And the effect that has had on the game – he’s improved players.”
Shearer: “For people to even ask if his team is the best we’ve seen in the Premier League tells you how well he’s done as a manager.”
4. Jose Mourinho (Chelsea 2004-2007 and 2013-2015, Manchester United 2016-2018, Tottenham 2019-present)
Games: 322 Won: 198 Drawn: 73 Lost: 51 Win ratio: 61.5% Premier League title wins: 3
Jose Mourinho won the Premier League three times in two spells at Chelsea and also finished second with Manchester United in 2017-18
Shearer: “Jose’s record is just incredible. When he first came in he had this arrogance that I think people loved and enjoyed – he had incredible belief in his ability and rightly so. But he’s slightly changed over the years.”
Wright: “When I watch the Chelsea team, especially of his second tenure there, I believe that was the best football I’ve seen for many years, rivalling ‘the invincibles’ of Arsenal. But you look at his time at Manchester United and it’s almost like a demise – he’s constantly moaning, it’s always someone else’s fault. He’s lost something.”
5. Jurgen Klopp (Liverpool 2015-present)
Games: 173 Won: 113 Drawn: 39 Lost: 21 Win ratio: 65.3% Premier League title wins: 0
Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool side are 25 points clear at the top of this season’s Premier League, needing two wins to become champions
Wright: “You can’t argue with what Liverpool have done in the past couple of years. You just have to hope something can be resolved so they can take the trophy they richly deserve. He’s come in, he laid out what he wanted and what he will do – and he’s done it.
Shearer: “Even last season some of the football they played was sensational.”
6. Claudio Ranieri (Chelsea 2000-2004, Leicester City 2015-2017, Fulham 2018-2019)
Games: 225 Won: 107 Drawn: 58 Lost: 60 Win ratio: 47.6% Premier League title wins: 1
Leicester City, guided by Claudio Ranieri, overcame odds of 5,000-1 at the start of the season to become Premier League champions in 2015-16
Shearer: “He had the title of Tinkerman at Chelsea. It was a miracle what he did at Leicester. The way he kept the pressure off his players that season was magnificent.”
Lineker: “People ask me, ‘what’s the best sporting moment of your life?’ And I say it’s not playing or even winning the FA Cup, it was actually when Leicester won the league.”
Wright: “I remember when we were in the Match of the Day green room and you started crying, and I thought to myself, ‘I’m not going to make a joke’. I just looked at you and thought, ‘oh my God, Gary Lineker is crying’. I’ve never seen you be emotional.”
7. Carlo Ancelotti (Chelsea 2009-2011, Everton 2019-present)
Games: 87 Wins: 53 Drawn: 16 Losses: 18 Win ratio: 60.92% Premier League title wins: 1
Ancelotti won the Premier League in 2010 with Chelsea
Wright: “He didn’t need many games to achieve what he did with that Chelsea side because they were so good.
“Do Everton understand the calibre of man they’ve got – do Everton fans understand?”
Shearer: “I think they do understand. In terms of how lucky Everton are to have someone of that ability tells you what must have been said to him to entice him into the club.
“When you look at his record, it is sensational wherever he’s been. He won the league with Chelsea and scored 103 goals in doing so.”
8. Sir Kenny Dalglish (Blackburn 1992-1995, Newcastle 1997-1998, Liverpool 2011-2012)
Games: 238 Won: 115 Drawn: 60 Lost: 63 Win ratio: 48.3% Premier League title wins: 1
Sir Kenny Dalglish guided Blackburn to the title in 1994-95, with Alan Shearer scoring 34 goals for them in that season
Shearer: “Kenny was brilliant, especially when you consider where Blackburn were when he took over, in the old Second Division. For them to take on the might of Manchester United and beat them, and to win the league after three years, was an incredible achievement. I know people will say he had the wealth of the owner, but he spent it very wisely and he created something incredibly special.”
Wright: “The pressure he was under, they were expecting something to happen – we all were, looking on as players.
“When they spent £3.6m on Shearer I said: ‘It’s miles too much money for Shearer!’ But when we played against them, they had the belief, they had everything in every department.”
9. Rafael Benitez (Liverpool 2004-2010, Chelsea 2012-2013, Newcastle 2016-2019)
Games: 340 Won: 168 Drawn: 82 Lost: 90 Win ratio: 49.41% Premier League title wins: 0
Rafael Benitez’s Liverpool only lost two league games in the 2008-09 season but still finished second, four points behind champions Manchester United
Wright: “You know how pragmatic he can be and how he can organise his team – you see that with what he did at Newcastle.
“But the calibre of manager he is and what he has done, he’s one of the few top managers who would take a job like Newcastle when he could have gone anywhere else in the world.
“Rafa has to be in there – not just because of what he did in the Champions League with Liverpool, but what he’s done for Newcastle. He has to be here.”
10. Sir Bobby Robson (Newcastle 1999-2004)
Games: 188 Won: 83 Drawn: 51 Lost: 54 Win ratio: 44.1% Premier League title wins: 0
Newcastle United, under the management of Sir Bobby Robson, finished fourth in 2001-02 and third a season later
Wright: “When you look at his time at Newcastle, he got them to the last 16 of the Champions League. The way he brought Newcastle back and got them to where they were challenging again – I think he’s right to be on this list.”
Shearer: “He has to be on here. He was an absolute genius at man management, whether he was managing the 16 or 17-year-olds or managing the 34 or 35-year-olds, he knew how to get the best out of players.
“He saved my Newcastle career. If it wasn’t for him coming to Newcastle I was on my way out. He got me back to enjoying football. If Ruud Gullit had stayed there I’d have had to have left Newcastle. Sir Bobby recognised straight away what was wrong with me and how to get me playing football with a smile on my face again.”
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