Ranking the Top 20 Foreign Managers in Premier League History

Ryan Bailey@ryanjaybaileyFeatured ColumnistMay 7, 2014

Ranking the Top 20 Foreign Managers in Premier League History

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    LEFTERIS PITARAKIS/Associated Press

    Here's a fun fact: The most successful English manager of all time in the Premier League is Tim Sherwood.


    Based solely on average points earned per game, Transfermarkt shows that the Spurs manager is the best Englishman to coach a team since the league's inception in 1992. 

    Transfermarkt's stats show that foreign managers have had a huge impact on the English top flight, with just seven British managers breaking the top 20. 

    Obviously, there are plenty of metrics to measure the best foreign manager, but here they are ranked by points earned per game.

    (N.B.—A foreign manager is defined as someone from outside the UK and Ireland.)

20. Roberto Martinez

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    Sang Tan/Associated Press

    Points earned: 226

    Win ratio: 30.7 per cent

    Ave. points per match: 1.2

    Catalonian coach Roberto Martinez has worked wonders at Everton this season, bringing them to the brink of Champions League football on a limited budget with some shrewd loan moves.

    In five Premier League seasons with the Toffees and Everton, Martinez has taken 226 points from 189 matches.

19. Christian Gross

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    BEN CURTIS/Associated Press

    Points earned: 34

    Win ratio: 33.3 per cent

    Ave. points per match: 1.4

    Christian Gross was widely ridiculed for his time at Spurs, which ended unceremoniously at the start of the 1998-99 season, but his record across 27 games while in charge isn't as terrible as one may expect. The Swiss coach earned 34 points, an average of 1.4 per match. 

18. Avram Grant

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    Sergey Ponomarev/Associated Press

    Points earned: 128

    Win ratio: 35.8 per cent

    Ave. points per match: 1.4

    Avram Grant has coached three different Premier League teams in three separate seasons: Chelsea, Portsmouth and then West Ham.

    The Israeli enjoyed his greatest success at Stamford Bridge, earning an average of 2.24 points per match and finishing as runner-up in the Champions League, Premier League and League Cup in 2007-08.

17. Martin Jol

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    Bogdan Maran/Associated Press

    Points earned: 276

    Win ratio: 37.1 per cent

    Ave. points per match: 1.4

    Martin Jol may have left Fulham in dire straits this season, but the Dutchman won 28 of his 89 matches in charge of the Cottagers and 47 of 113 in four seasons at Tottenham. This is good enough to make him the 17th-best foreign Premier League manager.

16. Mauricio Pochettino

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    Rui Vieira/Associated Press

    Points earned: 74

    Win ratio: 35.9 per cent

    Ave. points per match: 1.4

    After a successful stint at Espanyol, Mauricio Pochettino brought his high-pressing style to the Premier League at Southampton in January 2013. Thus far, he's taken 74 points from 53 matches.

15. Roberto Di Matteo

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    Massimo Pinca/Associated Press

    Points earned: 68

    Win ratio: 39.6 per cent

    Ave. points per match: 1.42

    Roberto Di Matteo has earned 68 points across 48 matches at the helm of West Brom and Chelsea.

    Aside from the success of getting the Baggies promoted in 2009-10, the Italian's managerial career highlight came when he took over from Andres Villas-Boas in March 2012, guiding the Blues to FA Cup and Champions League glory.

14. Ruud Gullit

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    LYNNE SLADKY/Associated Press

    Points earned: 161

    Win ratio: 40.1 per cent

    Ave. points per match: 1.4

    Dutch legend Ruud Gullit became player/manager at Chelsea in the 1996-97 campaign and almost immediately guided the Blues to an FA Cup win, their first major trophy in 26 years.

    In 1998, he became Newcastle Utd manager and also took them to an FA Cup Final in his first season.

13. Sven-Goran Eriksson

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    DAVE THOMPSON/Associated Press

    Points earned: 55

    Win ratio: 39.5 per cent

    Ave. points per match: 1.5

    Almost a year after he left the England job, Sven-Goran Eriksson was appointed Man City manager in July 2007. 

    In his only Premier League campaign, the Swede helped the Citizens do the double over Manchester United in the derby, finishing ninth in the table—good enough to qualify for Europe that season—and earning the club's highest Premier League points total to date (55).

    When Eriksson parted company with the Manchester side at the end of the season, fans were outraged by what they deemed to be an unfair dismissal.

12. Gerard Houllier

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    Matt Dunham/Associated Press

    Points earned: 419

    Win ratio: 47 per cent

    Ave. points per match: 1.7

    Gerard Houllier coached Liverpool for six seasons between 1998 and 2004, guiding the Anfield side to an FA Cup, a UEFA Cup and two League Cups. 

    When the Frenchman was ousted and replaced by Rafa Benitez (more on him later), he moved on to Lyon and brought them two league titles. In 2010, he returned to the English game with Aston Villa, where he won just 10 of 34 matches.

    He departed Villa Park at the end of 2010-11 and has not worked since.

11. Gianluca Vialli

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    MAX NASH/Associated Press

    Points earned: 152

    Win ratio: 47.7 per cent

    Ave. points per match: 1.8

    When Chelsea's aforementioned player/manager Ruud Gullit was sacked in February 1998, the same position was to their much-loved striker Gianluca Vialli. 

    In his first season, the Italian picked up the League Cup, the UEFA Cup and the UEFA Super Cup. He stayed in charge at the Bridge for four seasons—a very long tenure by modern Chelsea standards—and in 1999-00 he also delivered the FA Cup and a quarter-final spot in the club's debut Champions League campaign, which he earned by finishing fourth the previous season.

10. Andre Villas-Boas

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    Sang Tan/Associated Press

    Points earned: 145

    Win ratio: 51.6 per cent

    Ave. points per match: 1.8

    Before becoming Jose Mourinho's protege, Andre Villas-Boas landed his first managerial as the coach of the British Virgin Islands at the age of 21.

    AVB joined Chelsea in 2011, but he lost the job after one season amid rumours that his overcomplicated tactics and jargon alienated his dressing room. He then spent two seasons at Spurs, where he earned an average of 1.7 points per game over 54 matches.

9. Claudio Ranieri

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    THOMAS KIENZLE/Associated Press

    Points earned: 265

    Win ratio: 52.1 per cent

    Ave. points per match: 1.8

    Lo and behold, another Chelsea manager has made this list!

    Claudio Ranieri was the incumbent manager when the Abramovich era began, arriving in September 2000 with plenty of experience but very little in terms of English-speaking skills.

    In four seasons, the Italian spent an awful lot of money and earned an average of 1.8 points per game, but he ended his reign without any silverware.  

8. Rafa Benitez

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    Francisco Seco/Associated Press

    Points earned: 484

    Win ratio: 55.1 per cent

    Ave. points per match: 1.9

    Rafa Benitez arrived at Liverpool on the back of a La Liga and UEFA Cup double with Valencia. In his first season, he reached a League Cup Final and took the Reds to a famous comeback victory over Milan in the 2005 Champions League Final.

    Benitez brought in several key Spanish signings—including Xabi Alonso and Fernando Torres—and won the FA Cup in 2006. 

    The Spaniard was an extremely unpopular choice of interim manager at Chelsea in November 2012, but he won 15 of 26 matches and earned the Blues a Europa League trophy.

7. Luiz Felipe Scolari

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    SIMON DAWSON/Associated Press

    Points earned: 49

    Win ratio: 56 per cent

    Ave. points per match: 2

    During the Euro 2008 tournament in which he was coaching Portugal, Luiz Felipe Scolari was announced as Chelsea's new manager, the fourth in five years of Abramovich's ownership.

    "Big Phil" lasted less then a season in charge, but he only suffered four league defeats in 25 outings.

6. Arsene Wenger

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    DAVID CHESKIN/Associated Press

    Points earned: 1,340

    Win ratio: 58 per cent

    Ave. points per match: 2

    Considered by many to be the finest foreign manager ever to grace the Premiership, Arsene Wenger's stats place him at sixth in the all-time list. 

    The longest-serving coach in English football has presided over 675 league matches, winning three league titles and four FA Cups on a relatively modest budget. 

    "Le Professeur" may have his detractors among the Gunners' contingent, but few can doubt his consistent achievements—last weekend he sealed their 17th consecutive season of Champions League football.

5. Roberto Mancini

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    JON SUPER/Associated Press

    Points earned: 273

    Win ratio: 61.7 per cent

    Ave. points per match: 2.1

    In 2009, Manchester City's Emirati owners picked Roberto Mancini—Internazionale's most successful manager in 30 years—to lead them from mid-table obscurity to title winners.

    In his first full season, 2010-11, the Italian guided the Citizens to Champions League football and an FA Cup win, while his second full season brought the club their first league title in 44 years. 

    Mancini was sacked not long after City's 2013 FA Cup Final defeat to Wigan, but he won an impressive 82 of 133 league matches in his tenure. 

4. Carlo Ancelotti

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    Kirsty Wigglesworth/Associated Press

    Points earned: 157

    Win ratio: 63.2 per cent

    Ave. points per match: 2.1

    After eight seasons at the helm of Milan, Carlo Ancelotti was brought to Chelsea in May 2009. In his first season in charge, the man with the most dynamic eyebrows in sport delivered a Premier League and FA Cup double, becoming the second non-British manager to win the double after Arsene Wenger.

    Ancelotti was unsuccessful in his attempt to defend the title in 2010-11 and was duly replaced by Villas-Boas.

3. Manuel Pellegrini

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    Rui Vieira/Associated Press

    Points earned: 80

    Win ratio: 69.4 per cent

    Ave. points per match: 2.2

    Manuel Pellegrini succeeded Mancini at Manchester City at the start of this season. At the time of writing, the Citizens are the favourites to win the league. On 18 January, the Chilean's free-scoring side reached 100 goals in all competitions in just 34 games—the fastest this milestone has ever been reached in the Premier League era.

    Thus far, Pellegrini has earned 80 of a possible 108 points and earned a League Cup trophy. 

2. Jose Mourinho

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    SIMON DAWSON/Associated Press

    Points earned: 359

    Win ratio: 69.9 per cent

    Ave. points per match: 2.3

    In June 2004, the self-proclaimed "Special One" graced the Premier League with his presence, fresh from a surprise Champions League win with Porto. Mourinho expressed his preference for the Liverpool job, but he ended up at Stamford Bridge in place of Ranieri.

    In his first stint with the Blues, Mou earned two league titles and an FA Cup, and his first league defeat at Stamford Bridge only came with the recent loss to Sunderland. 

    In his latest tenure at Chelsea, Mourinho has earned an average of 2.14 points per game, which is his worst average in the Premier League (his best was 2.5 per game in his debut season). 

1. Guus Hiddink

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    Kirsty Wigglesworth/Associated Press

    Points earned: 226

    Win ratio: 84.6 per cent

    Ave. points per match: 2.6

    The 11th Chelsea manager on this list has the honour of being the most successful coach in Premier League history—foreign or otherwise. 

    When Big Phil Scolari was sacked in the 2008-09 season, Guus Hiddink was drafted in as a replacement for the final 13 league matches of the campaign.

    Even though the Dutchman was simultaneously in charge of the Russian national team, he lost just one game of 23 matches in all competitions, a 1-0 defeat at White Hart Lane.

    While it may not be fair to compare the temporary tenure of a manager like Hiddink to that of someone like Wenger, the statistics certainly work in the Dutchman's favour.

    Follow me on Twitter @RyanJayBailey

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