Difference between manager and head coach as Chelsea look to copy Liverpool's Arne Slot model

Liverpool's new head coach Arne Slot
-Credit: (Image: Peter Lous/BSR Agency/Getty Images)

Chelsea are on the lookout for a replacement for Mauricio Pochettino this summer, following a mutual agreement to part ways with the former Tottenham Hotspur manager on Tuesday evening.

Rumours had been swirling that the Argentine could be leaving the club for most of the season, due to struggles in quickly integrating a number of new players. However, with seven victories from his last ten Premier League matches and European football secured, there was a growing expectation that Pochettino might stay.

This hope was dashed when he departed the club, sparking the search for his successor. While numerous names are being associated with the vacancy, there's also the question of what their job title will be - manager or head coach.

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Many media outlets use both terms interchangeably when discussing the role, but there are subtle differences. For instance, a head coach's responsibilities are solely focused on what happens on the pitch.

Their role is to train the players, select the team, decide on tactics, etc. On the other hand, a manager does all of this while also playing a more active role in recruitment and other off-field matters, which ultimately gives them more authority within the club.

Recently, Liverpool have operated under both models. With Jurgen Klopp at the helm, the Reds had a manager who oversaw each aspect of the football club and had a strong pull when it came to recruitment.

However, new boss Arne Slot is going to be a head coach emulating his job title at Feyenoord. And while he will continue to have major input in transfers, he will work under a more robust structure with Richard Hughes leading on signings.

Like FSG, Chelsea's head honcho Todd Boehly seems to favour the head coach approach too, as it maintains a level of consistency within the club even when there's a change at the helm.

It's believed that Chelsea sacked Thomas Tuchel due to his hesitance to relinquish control over areas like player signings to the boardroom. In September 2022, Boehly hinted further that Tuchel's resistance to the head coach model played a part in his exit.

"Tuchel is extremely talented and had great success, our vision for the club was finding a manager that wanted to collaborate with us," Boehly remarked. "But we weren't sure Thomas saw our vision the same way we saw it, we didn't have a shared vision."

Both Liverpool and Chelsea are operating in the modern football environment where it has become impossible to have one figure at the top of the club who oversees everything. With so many plates to juggle, delegating duties from the manager to a team of experts is arguably the best way to gain success.

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