EPL Awards: Ranking the Top 5 Managers of the 2013-14 Season
While players often get credit for their team's success, managers deserve just as much credit.
Burdened with buying and selling players, implementing successful tactics, and getting the most of their players, a club's success or lack thereof is heavily contingent on its gaffer.
These five EPL managers have performed well at their respective clubs, and deserve to be singled out for their efforts.
All stats and info via ESPNFC unless otherwise indicated.
5. Jose Mourinho, Chelsea
Although Mourinho has Chelsea just two points off of first place, it has hard to place him higher on this list because of the expectations that Chelsea had going into this season.
Naturally, with a loaded squad Chelsea expected to be in the mix for title contention, but Mourinho deserves credit nonetheless, and has got Chelsea to that point in a unique way.
While Liverpool and Manchester City have relied on their potent attacks, Chelsea have managed to get results without a world-class striker (Only 18 goals combined between Demba Ba, Fernando Torres, and Samuel Eto'o.)
Rather, Mourinho has crafted Chelsea into the league's most fearsome defense, revitalizing the career of John Terry and allowing a league-best 26 goals thus far.
In addition, Mourinho proved to be shrewd in the transfer market. His squad have not stuttered after he sold Juan Mata for £37 million, and the purchase of Nemanja Matic has provided some much needed physicality in the midfield.
4. Roberto Martinez, Everton
Though Everton find themselves in a similar league position this season, their play has undoubtedly improved under the tutelage of Roberto Martinez.
In just his first season managing the Toffees, Martinez has already accumulated more points in an EPL season than David Moyes ever did (69), and has his squad playing attractively as well.
Martinez's squad has already scored more goals than last season, but have also maintained their stout defense, third to just Manchester City and Chelsea in goals conceded.
Overall, Martinez has changed the culture of Everton and made it a more balanced team.
He frequently experiments with formations ranging from the 4-3-3, 3-4-3, and 4-2-3-1, constantly putting his players in a position to thrive.
Among those who have thrived are Ross Barkley, Kevin Mirallas, and loanees Gareth Barry, Romelu Lukaku, and Gerard Deulofeu.
Just as Martinez can be praised for signing the latter three, however, his future prospects can be questioned if they decide to leave (especially Lukaku, who has 13 goals and six assists).
3. Mauricio Pochettino, Southampton
While Southampton, were formerly known as a scrappy, blue-collar club, Pochettino has made the Saints a hotbed of British footballing talent.
After finishing five points clear of the drop zone last season at 14th place, many fans were pleased with the Argentine, but he has taken Southampton to new heights.
This time around, they are firmly in eighth place of the table, and fans everywhere flocking to their TV's to watch the potent attacking play of this team.
Rickie Lambert, Jay Rodriguez, and Adam Lallana form the backbone of the attack, with the manager largely contributing to the development of the latter two. At the same time, youngsters Luke Shaw and Nathaniel Clyne have impressed at the back.
Though an eighth place finish may not impress everyone, it is being achieved by a small club with relatively limited finances. Rather than going on spending sprees, Southampton have continued their tradition of producing great players from their academy, and now Pochettino is helping those players turn into stars.
2. Tony Pulis, Crystal Palace
While taking over a club like Crystal Palace was never going to be an easy task, it is even harder to take over in the middle of the season when they have only four points.
On November 23, when Tony Pulis managed Crystal Palace for the first time, supporters would have been elated if he could find a way to scrape them out of relegation.
Now, with two games left, they are mathematically guaranteed to stay up, and sit comfortably in 11th place.
In 2014, they have been the league's second best defense, allowing only 13 goals, and causing problems to both Everton and Chelsea.
In this time span, they have also been the seventh best team overall (via WhoScored), capping off a massive turnaround from Tony Pulis' stingy defensive tactics.
However, he has allowed Mile Jedinak to flourish in a midfield destroyer role, and has gotten seven goals from Jason Puncheon for the lowly price of £1.75 million. (The Mirror).
A run of five successive victories cemented Palace's place in next year's campaign and showed the magic of Pulis' coaching.
1. Brendan Rodgers, Liverpool
In his second season at Liverpool, Brendan Rodgers has demonstrated every single quality necessary in a great manager.
He is stern, but relatable to his players, who love him. He is tactically brilliant, constantly molding his squad's formation and shape based on player form, injuries, suspensions, and the opponent. And most importantly, and obviously, he knows how to win, turning an afterthought of a Liverpool side into title contenders.
The previous managers on this list have either met expectations at a big club or pleasantly surprised people at a smaller/weaker one, but Rodgers has managed to fall into both of those categories.
The Northern Irishman has taken an inexperienced Liverpool and improved them vastly, so much so that they're currently sitting atop the EPL.
Under Rodgers this season, Liverpool have been an absolute revelation, scoring a league0high 96 goals, beating Manchester City, and even sweeping Manchester United and Everton respectively.
Whether or not they do win the EPL, the Reds have been absolutely fascinating to watch, playing exciting attacking football at a fast pace.
While Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez will receive instant recognition for the potency of its attack—as they shoud—Liverpool's youngsters have been extremely impressive as well.
Supposed busts Raheem Sterling and Jordan Henderson have had great seasons, the former netting nine goals and the latter providing seven assists. Their stellar play has almost guaranteed them a trip to the World Cup.
In addition, fellow Englishman and local boy Jon Flanagan has been gritty in defense, while Phillipe Coutinho has been an important creative influence.
And of course, Steven Gerrard, employed in a deep-lying role, has had a resurgent year for Liverpool, amassing 13 goals and 10 assists.
With his fluid formations and unswerving confidence in his players, Rodgers has allowed his youngsters to thrive and help Liverpool become a real force.
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