Some of the very best managers can now be found in the Premier League with the likes of Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp widely acknowledged amongst the finest in the game, the success of that duo ranking them amongst the most successful coaches of a generation.
The talented tacticians don’t just stop at those illustrious names, however, and there are a number of managers in the division currently earning plenty of plaudits for their work this season.
We’ve decided to look at the managers who have enhanced or in some cases rebuilt their reputations with some stellar performances during the 2020/21 season to date, here are five Premier League managers whose stock is on the rise this season.
David Moyes spent more than a decade building a fine reputation at Everton, only to see it tarnished following an ill-fated spell as Manchester United manager before failing to rebuild during short stints at Real Sociedad and Sunderland.
He impressed during an interim role at West Ham before being overlooked for a more glamorous appointment, only to return to the London Stadium last season to guide the struggling Hammers away from relegation danger.
Moyes’ work during his second stint earned him the job on a permanent basis and it has been a sensible decision from the club’s hierarchy, the 57-year-old reverting back to the principles that brought success on Merseyside to transform West Ham’s fortunes.
The club’s scattergun approach to the transfer market as been replaced by a recruitment drive focused on hungry footballers with a desire to succeed at West Ham, rather than high-profile names keen to use the club as a stepping stone to bigger things.
Jarrod Bowen, Tomas Soucek and Vladimir Coufal have been signed from the lower divisions or lesser reputation European leagues with huge success, each adding energy and personality to a West Ham side that has helped lift a previously toxic atmosphere surrounding the east London outfit.
Moyes also deserves credit for fitting the players available to him in a system that suits their strengths, Aaron Cresswell and Angelo Ogbonna having been reborn as part of a back three and Michail Antonio emerging as the all-action centre-forward needed to operate in a lone role.
Moyes refused to sign a new striker during the winter window despite the sale of Sebastien Haller, the Scot’s treatment of the club’s coffers as his own money a welcome change given the fortunes squandered in recent seasons.
Hopes are high that West Ham can push on from their current sixth-placed finish and seal European qualification, and a return to continental competition would be a huge achievement for a manager who has proven his doubters wrong so far this season.
Aston Villa have been arguably the most improved side in the Premier League this season, establishing themselves as one of the most entertaining teams in the division after narrowly avoiding relegation last season.
Dean Smith’s side were tipped to be amongst the favourites for the drop once again but a solid summer of recruitment has helped transform their fortunes, the signings of Emiliano Martinez, Ollie Watkins, Matty Cash, Bertrand Traore and Ross Barkley adding quality to the club’s starting side.
Watkins and Cash were signed from the Championship and have handled the step-up admirably, whilst goalkeeper Martinez has been amongst the signings of the season after arriving from Arsenal in search of guaranteed minutes.
Smith’s side have been fearless in their approach and have produced some statement results, including an incredible 7-2 thrashing of champions Liverpool and a 3-0 win against Arsenal at the Emirates.
Villa’s play centres around getting Jack Grealish in possession and the club captain has starred, ranking second in the Premier League for assists and leading the division for key passes, progressive carries and goal-creating actions.
Surrounding the 25-year-old with further quality has been the key to Villa’s improvement with the likes of Barkley and Watkins a more than capable supporting cast, Smith’s recruitment drive having seen the club transformed from relegation strugglers to neutral’s favourites.
Southampton may have suffered a recent dip in performances but the club continue to make notable strides forward under the guidance of Ralph Hasenhuttl who has quietly built a competitive side in his own image, turning the Saints into a team full of energy and whose pressing play makes them difficult opposition.
After flirting with the relegation places during the first half of the 2019/20 season, a second half of the season resurgence saw Southampton move away from danger and they have continued that momentum into the current campaign to push towards the European places.
Hasenhuttl has showed he can improve players with Jannick Vestergaard having been transformed from weak link to one of the league’s most dominant defenders this season, whilst James Ward-Prowse continues to go from strength to strength as the creative and tenacious heartbeat of the side.
The Austrian’s style is high-octane and demanding with his side pressing aggressively and high up the pitch, Hasenhuttl utilising two forwards in an often narrow 4-2-2-2 formation which squeezes opposition sides centrally and into areas where the Saints have numbers.
Southampton have wobbled of late with five consecutive defeats – including a 9-0 humiliation at Old Trafford – but topped the Premier League for the first time in their history back in November, a testament to the work Hasenhuttl has conducted with the Saints once again one of the most impressive top-flight outfits.
Southampton have been here before with the likes of Mauricio Pochettino and Ronald Koeman impressing before being poached by Premier League rivals, and few would be surprised to see Hasenhuttl approached given his assembling of this side and implementing of an attractive style with limited resources.
Brighton may be struggling towards the wrong end of the division, but there’s no doubt that Graham Potter deserves credit for the work he has conducted at the Amex Stadium.
The former Swansea manager has stuck to his principles despite a concerning run of results, with a clear focus on playing good football from back to front and an emphasis on players comfortable in possession.
Brighton have been unfortunate on occasion this season and perhaps only the lack of a quality centre-forward has prevented the club from getting the results their performances deserve, having created plenty of opportunities with the likes of Pascal Gross and Leandro Trossard offering dangerous delivery.
Potter has shown an ability to improve players with Yves Bissouma one name who has attracted attention, whilst youngster Tariq Lamptey has seen his reputation soar following a series of impressive performances since swapping Chelsea for Brighton last winter.
Brighton are currently in the midst of a five-game unbeaten run – including a 1-0 win at Liverpool – and will hope to continue their recent progress after moving 10 points clear of the relegation places.
Brendan Rodgers’ impressive work as Leicester manager continues, the manager’s decision to return to the Premier League having been vindicated after being provided with a platform to deliver success at the King Power Stadium.
Rodgers’ appointment as Liverpool manager in 2012 perhaps came too soon for the Northern Irishman despite almost guiding the Reds to the league title two years later, though after rebuilding at Celtic he has returned to English football as one of the division’s best managers.
Rodgers’ first full season saw him guide Leicester to a fifth-placed finish with the Foxes desperately unfortunate to miss out on the Champions League, a disappointment the club have responded to brilliantly with another strong start to the campaign.
The 48-year-old’s recruitment was questioned at Liverpool but he has made a number of impressive signings at Leicester, with James Justin and Wesley Fofana two young players brimming with potential.
Rodgers has shown a versatility this season with a 4-2-3-1 formation mixed with a 4-1-4-1 and even a switch to 3-5-2 on occasion, Leicester comfortable either dominating possession or launching counter-attacks with pace on the break.
The core of this Leicester side are a perfect age to progress further and the Foxes have the right manager at the helm to guide them to success in the coming seasons.
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