Top 10 managers of the decade
The glory of football most often goes to the players - it is the likes of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo who are surrounded by all the cameras, and who bask in the limelight after their team wins an important game. No matter how good the players are individually, football is a team sport. It is the effort of eleven men on the field, and dozens of others off the field who make a single victory possible.
Perhaps the most important of all those men is the manager of a football team. He does not make a single pass or slide into an important tackle which will save his team. However, a good manager always manages to leave his mark on the game in a positive way. The correct tactical change, a timely substitution, the charisma and presence on the touchline and in the dressing room - a good football manager is what makes the club successful.
This decade, we have seen managers who have changed the way the game is played. From gegenpressing to tiki-taka to swift counter-attacking football, the game of football has been tactically revolutionised by some of the greatest minds to grace the game. In this list, we honour the best of the best as we choose our top 10 managers of the decade.
10. Mauricio Pochettino
Teams managed this decade - Espanyol, Southampton, Tottenham Hotspur
The only thing preventing Mauricio Pochettino from a higher finish on this list is a lack of silverware for the manager. Starting this decade as the Espanyol manager, "Poch" was drawing praise for his tactical acumen and his personality early on his career.
Namely, the imposition of a specific tactical style on all of the clubs' team from the senior side down to youth level, attending training sessions to receive updates from all levels, a preference for 4–2–3–1, a focus on a high-pressing game and the promotion of young players from the academy were a few things the manager became known for before his move to England.
He departed from Spain to coach Southampton FC, and he lead the Saints to their highest points tally since the Premier League began in 1992-93. However, most of Pochettino's great work came with North London side Tottenham Hotspur - when the Argentine joined them, Spurs were a Europa League team trying to make a consistent mark for themselves in the top 4. When he left them, the team had reached the Champions League finals and are currently enjoying their most successful run in Premier League history.
It was Pochettino's clever work with a limited budget at Spurs that made the top 4 of England a "big 6". It was him who ended the dreaded St.Totteringham's Day tradition, where arch-rivals Arsenal fans would celebrate the day when their "inferior" neighbours Tottenham could no longer mathematically finish above them in the Premier League. For the past three seasons, the Lilywhites have managed to finish over the Gunners in the league table, and those days of embarrassment are well and truly over.
Pochettino was recently sacked by the club after a poor start to this league season, but at the age of 47, he is the youngest entrant on this list. There is no doubt that the former Espanyol man will finish his career with some major trophies, as his route to the top is just beginning. When we re-write this list ten years down the line, Poch might just be in the top 3