Published On: Mon, Apr 16th, 2018

4 bosses denied a Manager of the Season award by Guardiola

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West Bromwich Albion may have cut the ribbon to begin Manchester City‘s title celebrations by beating Manchester United on Sunday, but Pep Guardiola should take most credit for a sensational Premier League term. With a points record to potentially add to City’s several other historic feats, the Spanish tactician should stroll to the Premier League Manager of the Season prize.

Related: How Guardiola turned Manchester City into Premier League’s all-time best

However, there are plenty of other managers who deserve credit for their own mesmeric performances. Here are four bosses who, if Guardiola wasn’t weaving magic in east Manchester, could be taking home the individual award.

Rafa Benitez


It seems peculiar to claim that a Champions League-winning manager is en route to completing one of his greatest achievements in the game by steering Newcastle United to safety, but it’s completely legitimate when evaluating the context.

Benitez’s boardroom support has been minimal while buffoonish owner Mike Ashley tries to flog the club for too much, leaving the 57-year-old to scour the loan market in the January transfer window. Two of the three loanees – Kenedy and Martin Dubravka – have been protagonists in the subsequent rise up the standings, and a squad predominantly made up of Championship-quality fodder has well exceeded expectations.

The Toon Army will be desperate to keep Benitez at the helm, but the manager wants to wait to see if he’s going to be given sufficient backing to take Newcastle to the next level.

“As I have said before: if everything is right, it is a good opportunity, but everything has to be right,” he said after Sunday’s 2-1 win over Arsenal.

Jurgen Klopp


Jose Mourinho was supposed to turn United into a clear challenger for the Premier League title, and Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham Hotspur is a top-four mainstay but has ultimately dropped two places in the standings. That leaves Jurgen Klopp as the only top-six handler that, without Guardiola, could grab the Manager of the Season gong.

Liverpool began this campaign as it finished the previous: as a blissfully inconsistent, madcap outfit that was undoubtedly the best watch in the league. But entertainment doesn’t necessarily win titles.

Klopp then fortified his lineup behind the Fab Three, signing Virgil van Dijk for an eye-watering sum and drawing more improvements from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in a matter of months than were seen through six years at Arsenal. Loris Karius is an assured presence in goal since toppling Simon Mignolet, too, and Dejan Lovren is beating his confidence issues.

Naby Keita is arriving in the summer and, with one or two more tweaks, Klopp can stage a serious push for the title next season.

Related – Poll: Which club has the best chance of dethroning Manchester City?

David Wagner


Huddersfield Town joined England’s elite after ending a Championship campaign with a negative goal difference and just one goal scored in the play-offs – and even that was inadvertently netted by a Sheffield Wednesday player.

The Terriers were many pundits’ top tip for relegation, but are nearing Premier League safety following Saturday’s late 1-0 victory over Watford.

“They played their part and let the players believe until the final second,” Wagner said of the support in the John Smith’s Stadium. “We know the job isn’t done but we are one further step nearer to our target.”

Chris Hughton has also worked wonders with Brighton & Hove Albion, but the Seagulls had been threatening to swoop into the Premier League for some time. By contrast, Wagner’s predecessor was sacked in November 2015 with Huddersfield nervously positioned 18th in the Championship table, and the transformation he has conducted since has been remarkable.

Sean Dyche


Burnley Football Club is a name synonymous with agricultural football, fittingly schemed by a gruff-voiced gaffer who allegedly ate worms.

But that’s a tad unfair. Before his season was cut short by injury, Steven Defour forged an adventurous midfield with Jack Cork, and Johann Berg Gudmundsson has had a strong campaign on the flank. The Clarets haven’t merely been advocates of hoofball in 2017-18.

The improvements to Ashley Barnes‘ game must also be noted. The former Austrian under-20 international has added goals to his industrious play, making a route into the first team less straightforward for £15-million Chris Wood, Sam Vokes, and the forgotten Jonathan Walters.

It could get even better than a lofty seventh place for Burnley. The Lancashire outfit is just two points short of Arsenal in the Europa League places, and the two sides face off in the season’s penultimate match.



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