With the season approaching its climax, Jan Molby takes a look at the Premier League's managers - and gives their efforts a rating.
Jose Mourinho - B
I think Mourinho's got Chelsea organised to an extent - but there's still work to be done. They have to have more of an attacking structure. When he was at Real Madrid he had the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema, so they'd do things off the cuff; last time he was at Chelsea he had Didier Drogba, which was a clear indicator of the way they wanted to play; and he's just lacking that little bit at the moment. That's where he needs to improve.
His protestations that he needs more time to make Chelsea a team are fair - it always takes time, we know that. And for next year he's promised a team that will be significantly better than they've been this season.
Manuel Pellegrini - A-
He's done a good job. I think he's the total opposite of what Roberto Mancini was, he's brought a lot of calm to the place. I know there's a lot of people who are still questioning his big match record and temperament, but I think he's done well. I like him as a manager, and I think the players like him. He's well-placed to get the best squad in the Premier League over the line.
Just after Christmas it looked like they might run away with it, but I don't think that means they will pull clear of the pack next season - though I do expect them to be even stronger next year. However next campaign, of course, Pellegrini will be under far more pressure, because they have to improve on what they've done in the Champions League.
Brendan Rodgers - A
He's done really well, particularly in the way he's improved individuals in his squad. You can't help but be impressed by him. There was no inkling before the season that they could do what they have: I think everyone at Anfield was happy that they had the right man in charge, but I believe even Rodgers himself will be surprised at what he's done. There was a hope that they might get back into the Champions League, but what they've done is beyond all expectations.
There have been a few key factors that have helped them out: their fixture list has been favourable, not having to play in Europe; they've also been aided by both Chelsea and City losing form for spells during the season. But you can't take anything away from the way Liverpool have performed, because it's been exceptional - and Rodgers is the man who must get the vast majority of the credit for that.
Arsene Wenger - B+
At one point early on it looked like this season could have been a lot better for Arsenal, even as recently as February. But the problem with the Gunners is that you're always waiting for the month that their season implodes. This year it happened to be March when it all fell apart.
You kind of get that feeling every year: they kid you along and lull you into thinking that this might finally be the season they do it, but it never is. It appears that Arsenal no longer build teams to last - they have a wobble every year that costs them.
It's strange, because you'd think the Arsenal team would be very easy to improve - though for some reason Wenger is shy about bringing in the sort of player he needs. I think if they'd got someone like Victor Wanyama from Southampton that might have made the difference - a player like that would be a great character to have around when things are going against you.
But Wenger gets a B+, because he looks odds-on to pick up the FA Cup - and winning trophies is why you play, isn't it? If he picks up a trophy and qualifies for the Champions League yet again, that's a good season's work. Even if you wonder if he's still capable of taking Arsenal the next step.
Roberto Martinez - A
I think Everton faced a hugely difficult job this season. What would they do without David Moyes, who'd done such a good job there? And Martinez, well, we'd seen signs at Swansea and Wigan that he had great potential - but he also got Wigan relegated, so you never really knew how it would go for him. He's proven already what an outstanding young manager he is, though, and it looks like they're going to finish with their highest-ever points tally in the Premier League. Massive credit has to go to the manager.
He has a real ability to get the players to believe in what he wants them to do, and has been incredible in trusting some of his younger players to come through. I think the players feel exactly the same way. I think they probably can't believe how much confidence he gives them, and how much belief he has in them.
Tim Sherwood - C
He's a really difficult one to judge. He came into a situation after Andre Villas-Boas was fired and I think his results have been okay: he's been outmanoeuvred in some games by more experienced managers, he's come out with one or two unfortunate - if honest - things about his own players. But I still don't get the feeling that he's the man to move Spurs forward - particularly given the club's big ambitions. All in all, he's probably a C.
David Moyes - F
David Moyes failed. You can give many and various reasons, but there will be a lot of things he'll regret about his time at Manchester United, one of which would definitely be his decision to sack the backroom staff. I think he too often looked like he was honoured to be doing the job, as if they'd done him a favour by appointing him. But at the end of the day, poor performances equals poor results, and at Manchester United there is no hiding place.
Mauricio Pochettino - B+
The Southampton manager has done an excellent job. I think early on in the season people started expecting them to have a real run at a top-four spot, but they're not really at that level. I think he's done a good job: he's given them a clear identity, and I think they play some good football.
Tony Pulis - A+
He's done an incredible job at Palace. When he took over it seemed a good appointment, but nobody really gave him any chance of saving the Eagles from relegation. And that wasn't a judgement based on whim, it was purely based on the quality of the players in his squad: they just didn't look good enough. But he's got them organised, and he's got more out of his better players than anybody ever thought possible. Jason Puncheon has improved beyond recognition, Yannick Bolasie has finally arrived in the Premier League. Pulis has done a superb job.
Mark Hughes - B
A lot of people were surprised when he set out to play some football, given the squad at his disposal, but he's surprised them all. Stoke have been playing some decent stuff.
Sam Allardyce - B
Almost all of the clubs in the bottom half of the table have sacked their managers this season, but one man who's come in for a lot of criticism that I think is unjust is Sam Allardyce. It looks like he's kept West Ham in the Premier League yet again - but there will always be this issue about the way his sides play. People can't get away from that.
And it's a particular bugbear for West Ham fans - they just can't accept his methods given the ideals of a team that played with panache and flair 40-odd years ago. But I think just keeping West Ham in the Premier League is doing a good job - even though I'm well aware that West Ham fans will disagree with me!
- Sports & Recreation
- Premier League
- David Moyes
- Jose Mourinho