Ranking the best Chelsea managers of all times

best chelsea managers
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Pressure is what Chelsea managers are used to. Since the 2013 takeover of the club by Roman Abramovich, Chelsea has moved from strength to strength becoming one of the best sides in England and Europe in general.

This meteoric rise and change of fortunes did come at a cost. Most of the Chelsea managers have learned that success on and off the pitch is all that matters to the Israel-Russian oligarch. Failure to deliver or maintain sustained success over a long period will lead to the sack.

The early example was the case of Claudio Ranieri who was sacked in May 2004, a year after the arrival of Abramovich despite delivering a second-placed finish in the Premier League. This was Chelsea’s best-ever finish as at then.

Frank Lampard will also face the same situation. Arguably, one of the best players in Chelsea’s history, and the club record goalscorer. He will face the sack as a Chelsea manager after a turbulent season and a half.

Abramovich has overseen the hiring and sacking of 14 managers as the club owner.

Best Chelsea Managers

1. Jose Mourinho

Jose Mourinho is a symbol of Chelsea’s renaissance and evolvement in English football. The former Porto Coach arrived in 2004 after leading Porto to an unlikely Champions League triumph. The self-acclaimed “Special One” will guide Chelsea to a Premier League title at the first time of asking in the 2004-2015 season conceding only 15 goals. He defended the title the following season.

He will crash out of the Champions League loss to Liverpool on two occasions. Mourinho will win the FA Cup, and Community Shield, and two Carabao Cups.

However, Mourinho will have a strong disagreement with the Chelsea board over the recruitment of Andriy Shevchenko. Amid this, and other issues, Mourinho left Chelsea in September 2007.

Mourinho returned back to Chelsea in June 2013. He will add another Carabao Cup in 2015 after beating Tottenham and sealed another Premier League at the end of the season.

Mourinho will part ways with Chelsea again in December 2015 after a poor run of form that saw Chelsea lose nine out of 16 games. Mourinho is arguably the best of the Chelsea managers given his successes.

2. Carlo Ancelotti

Carlo Ancelotti left AC Milan after an eight-year reign in the Rossoneri’s dugout. He joined Chelsea in June 2009 after Guus Hiddink, the interim manager left. He will win the Community Shield, and secured the Premier League on his debut season pipping Manchester United by a single point.

His attacking football endeared him to the Chelsea faithful as Chelsea scored a then Premier League record 103 goals. He also secured the FA Cup.

The signing of Fernando Torres and David Luiz could not help Chelsea retain the EPL as Ancelotti, one of the best Chelsea managers was sacked in May 2011.

3. Antonio Conte

After leading Juventus to four consecutive Scudetto title wins, Conte had a brief stint with the Azzuri leading Italy to the quarter-finals of the Euro 2016.

He joined Chelsea in April 2016. He altered Chelsea’s formation introducing the largely unused 3-4-3 formation to the Premier League. Chelsea will go on a 13-game winning streak that will eventually set a tone for the Premier League title win. Chelsea will record 30 wins in 38 matches, a new Premier League record.

He will add the FA Cup with a win over Manchester United in May 2018. Conte will leave at the end of the season after Chelsea finished in lowly 5th position in the league.

4. Ted Drake

Ted Drake is the first manager to secure a league win for Chelsea. He still remains the only coach before the Abramovich era to do so.

He arrived in 1952 and kickstarted a wholesome change to Chelsea’s team approach and methods. He removed the Chelsea Pensioners nickname and changed it to the Blues. He introduced the Lion Rampant Regardant crested logo.

He scouted for young players and transformed them rather than recruiting big names. Chelsea will win the league title in the 1954-55 season.

5. Thomas Tuchel

After the dismissal of Frank Lampard in January 2021, former PSG coach, Thomas Tuchel took over at Stamford Bridge. The German tactician turned Chelsea season around, and won the Champions League after defeating Manchester City in Porto.

Honorable Mentions

  • Roberto Di Matteo: An assistant to Villas-Boas, Chelsea coach then. He became a caretaker manager after his sacking. He led Chelsea to an unlikely Champions League in 2012, addding the FA Cup with a win over Liverpool. He lasted eight months before his sacking.
  • Maurizio Sarri: He spent just a full season at Chelsea winning the Europa League trophy in the 2018-19 with a win against Arsenal in Baku.
  • Gianluca Vialli: He became a player-coach after the sacking of Ruud Gullit. Vialli led Chelsea to an FA Cup, Community Shield, League Cup, UEFA Cup Winner’s Cup and a UEFA Super Cup in two years.
  • Rafael Benitez: An interim coach signed after the sacking of Di Matteo, Benitez did bring Chelsea the Europa League title in the 2012-13 season. However, he did not get along with Chelsea fans who hated him due to his previous comment criticising Chelsea and his affiliation with Liverpool.
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