Why Jose Mourinho deserves the Premier League Manager of the Season award
A look at the other contenders and why Mourinho deserved the award
It is that time of year again in the Barclay’s Premier League. As we approach the last weekend of fixtures in the 2014/15 season, we find ourselves in an interesting position, an almost meaningless Championship Sunday. There are still two teams vying to avoid the last relegation position, but other than that, small table movements is all we can expect from the last day.
Chelsea have long ago sealed their title fate, while the top four is secure as well. The only other movement that could be meaningful is the Europa League battle, where Tottenham can move to 5th, or as low as 7th, Liverpool can drop down to 6th, and Southampton can move to 6th, eliminating Spurs from Europa League contention.
Considering there isn’t much to play for, the Premier League have released their choices for Player of the Season and Manager of the Season. While Eden Hazard has easily secured the player award, the manager of the year tends to be more wide open. The obvious choice is Chelsea’s Jose Mourinho, and rightfully so.
The other nominations include the likes of Garry Monk, Nigel Pearson, Ronald Koeman, and Arsene Wenger. To me, Jose is head and shoulders above his competition. First and foremost, we should look at each manager’s pedigree for the award.
First of which to eliminate from contention is Arsene Wenger. The Frenchman has once again achieved nothing this season. Granted, his team are still in line to win the FA cup, but should they pull off this feat, he certainly isn’t a candidate for this award, given his campaign in the Premier League.
Moving on to Garry Monk. The lad has been great for Swansea. He represents one of the best English managers in the game, and the future is bright for him. That being said, he hasn't done enough this season to warrant a comparison to Jose.
Nigel Pearson's inclusion into this group is somewhat laughable in my opinion. While keeping Leicester afloat is certainly an accomplishment, his behavior off the pitch has got to play a role in this decision. Or rather strangling a player on the pitch. Pearson can certainly prove critics wrong and be successful next season, should he get funds to add players, but the "great escape" from 20th place isn't Manager of the Season material.
Finally, and in my opinion, Jose's closest challenger, Ronald Koeman. The Dutchman has been sensational with Southampton this season, given half of his team was sold, following a fantastic season coached by Tottenham's Pochettino. Koeman has done a strong job of replacing players like Shaw, Lovren and Lambert. His mentoring of young players like Ward-Prowse has also been outstanding. The Dutchman has gone above and beyond in his first season, and should continue to improve.
However, Jose Mourinho has been head and shoulders above all other managers this season. His tactical prowess is second to none. The ability that he has to read games, and pick lineups and tactics accordingly, isn’t replicated by any manager in the Premier League, or the world for that matter.
Consider not only his two trophies this season, although winning the Premier League with three games to spare is pretty impressive on its own. Looking past that, one has to evaluate the smaller victories as well. For example, having two top 5 goalkeepers on the team, and not playing one of them often, yet keeping the peace.
Eden Hazard has come of age under Mourinho. While looking like a top prospect in his first year at the club, Mourinho has helped to transform him into, Premier League Player of the Season, a world beater, and a future Ballon d’Or candidate. That to me is way more than progress.
Mourinho has also found ways to transition from the old guard to the new guard at Chelsea. While reinvigorating John Terry’s career, the manager was also able to replace important old pieces like Frank Lampard, Ashley Cole, Didier Drogba, and even Petr Cech. There is no manager in the world who could have oversaw such wholesale changes, while still maintaining the success that the Portuguese has accomplished.
He is manager of the year, and it seems like he’s only getting started at Stamford Bridge.
Follow Tyler Strauss on Twitter