- Three clubs changed managers over the summer
- All three appointed Englishmen
- Each one faces unique challenges and pressure
As happens every summer, there has been a frenzy of player movement in the Premier League. There has also been some change in the dugouts, with three top-flight clubs welcoming in new managers for the 2019/20 season. Here, we take a look at the circumstances of each situation.
Brighton & Hove Albion
Outgoing manager: Chris Hughton
Hughton had been in charge at Brighton since 2014 and had led the Seagulls to the Premier League in the 2016/17 season. They finished 15th in their first campaign in the top flight, but slipped down a couple of places in the second year and their failure to win any of their final nine league matches of the season led to the sacking of the former Republic of Ireland international.
Hughton league finishes by season
2014/15: Championship, 20th*
2015/16: Championship, 3rd and semi-final defeat in promotion play-offs
2016/17: Championship, 2nd and automatic promotion
2017/18: Premier League, 15th
2018/19: Premier League, 17th
*Only in charge for second half of the season
Many felt that Hughton was harshly treated after meeting the objective of avoiding relegation, but club chairman Tony Bloom felt the coach had “put our status at significant risk” and that it was “the right time for a change”.
Incoming manager: Graham Potter
Potter played for a number of different English teams, but made a name for himself as a coach at Swedish side Östersund. He took them from the fourth tier of Swedish football to the top division and to the Europa League.
That earned him a year in charge of Swansea City, but after the 2018/19 season he moved to Falmer Stadium to take the vacated Brighton job. He described his Östersund team as “a tactically flexible, attacking, possession-based team” in an interview with The i and that will be exciting for Brighton fans to hear.
Outgoing manager: Rafa Benítez
Benítez’s Newcastle contract was running out this summer, but the club weren’t able to reach an agreement with the Spaniard to extend his deal. “We have worked hard to extend Rafa’s contract over a significant period of time, however it has not been – and will not be – possible to reach an agreement with Rafa and his representatives,” the club said in a statement.
Predictably, this development has enraged Newcastle fans. Benítez was able to bring them back up to the Premier League in first place in 2016/17, before putting together 10th and 13th place finished in the top flight with minimal budget. The 59-year-old decided he’d had enough and has now become manager at Dalian Yifang in China.
Incoming manager: Steve Bruce
This is Steve Bruce’s 11th appointment as a head coach at an English club. With one of those appointments being Newcastle’s rivals Sunderland, many fans are angry at his arrival. Others are simply unenthused due to his poor record at Premier League level.
Current Premier League managers with worst points-per-game records
1. Sean Dyche: 1.10 points per Premier League game
2. Steve Bruce: 1.12 points per Premier League game
3. Eddie Howe: 1.16 points per Premier League game
4. Javi Gracia: 1.25 points per Premier League game
5. Marco Silva: 1.26 points per Premier League game
Outgoing manager: Maurizio Sarri
On paper, Sarri’s 2018/19 season wasn’t bad. He guided Chelsea to a third-place finish and won the Europa League title. However, his style of football simply didn’t win over the fans and the fit never felt quite right. The League Cup final incident with Kepa didn’t exactly help his credibility either.
So, at the end of the season, Sarri and Chelsea had an amicable divorce. An annulment, you might say. The Italian returned to Serie A to take over at Juventus and all parties seemed happy with the decision.
Incoming manager: Frank Lampard
One reason why Chelsea seemed so content to let Sarri leave was the fact that their former midfield hero was waiting in the wings. Lampard led Derby County to the play-off final of the Championship last season as he took his first steps in management and those at Stamford Bridge had seen enough positives to feel confident in bringing him in.
With a transfer ban and the loss of Eden Hazard, it’s not going to be an easy season for the Englishman and he’ll be tested to the max.
General tactical shapes used by Lampard at Derby
4-2-3-1: 58% of the time
4-1-4-1: 18% of the time
4-3-3: 18% of the time
4-3-2-1: 5% of the time
3-5-2: 1% of the time