In light of Sunderland’s recent acquiring of Martin O‘Neil to succeed Steve Bruce as manager, it is interesting to look back at some managerial appointments which may have come as a surprise in the Premier League.
…the gulf in quality…
The former Porto manager was brought into Chelsea this past summer by Roman Abramovich. Coupled with the hefty price tag of releasing Andre Villas-Boas from his contract at the Portuguese Champions, there was also a concern that Villas-Boas was extremely inexperienced – especially for a club of Chelsea’s stature and ambition. While there was the glamour of having won everything there is to win in Portugal, as well as the Europa League, the gulf in quality between the Portuguese league and the Premier League is quite telling.
In Portugal, Villas-Boas had the strongest squad, one boasting talents such as Hulk, Falcao, Joao Moutinho and Rolando. They dominated the league and swept aside their opposition with relative ease. Contrasting to that is the realisation that Villas-Boas is no longer the top dog in the league. Manchester giants United and City have jumped out ahead of all others and look the most likely to capture this season’s title. While at the same time, there’s the issue of a complete overhaul in the Chelsea squad. Owner Abramovich wants attractive, yet, winning football, and to accommodate Villas-Boas’s potential to offer him that, the deadwood in the squad needs to be moved on.
While a project like appointing a young, ambitious manager to take the club onto new heights is adventurous and exciting, there will always be question marks as to why he seemed the better option over the already vastly experienced, but still youthful, Carlo Ancelotti.
…doing so much with so little,
Prior to Roy Hodgson’s appointment as Liverpool manager the Englishman had taken his Fulham side to the Europa League Final, sweeping aside Italian giants Juventus in the process. He was doing so much with so little, coming within a goal to claiming the trophy and capturing the hearts of all of England – all very romantic stuff.
What was quite perplexing, however, was that he was deemed good enough to take on the challenge of taking Liverpool back where they belonged – challenging regularly for the Premier League title.
He didn’t last long, obviously, as a string of hugely disappointing and damaging results spelt the end for a man who had formally taken over the managerial reins at Inter Milan.
Images courtesy of Andre Villas-Boas and Roy Hodgson