Head coach and manager difference explained as Chelsea lean towards Arne Slot approach

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

Chelsea find themselves on the hunt for a Mauricio Pochettino replacement this summer after mutually parting ways with the former Tottenham Hotspur man on Tuesday evening.

There had been reports circulating that the Argentine could be on his way out of the club for the majority of the season after failing to gel a host of new players quickly. But with seven wins out of his last ten Premier League games and European football secured, there had been an expectation that Pochettino could now stay.

This was extinguished when he left the club and now the search for his successor is on. While a host of names are being linked with the vacancy, there is the small matter of what their job title will be - manager or head coach.

Most media organisations use both terms interchangeably when discussing the position however, there are some subtle differences. A head coach's role is focused solely on what happens on the pitch.

Their job is to coach the players, pick the team, choose tactics etc. Meanwhile, a manager does that as well as having a more involved role in recruitment and other off-field matters which ultimately makes them more powerful inside the club.

Legendary Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson was arguably the last successful boss to have the latter job title and now with the advent of directors of football and heads of recruitment, the 'manager' in modern football is becoming extinct. Chelsea owner Todd Boehly seemingly prefers the concept of a head coach because it allows the club to keep an element of familiarity if they need to alter who is in charge.

READ MORE: Chelsea identify three managers to replace Pochettino

READ MORE: Four players who could follow Pochettino exit

It is understood Thomas Tuchel was fired by Chelsea due to his reluctance to give up power to the boardroom on topics like player recruitment. In September 2022, Boehly alluded to Tuchel's resistance to the head coach model as a factor behind 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," he said, "but we weren’t sure Thomas saw our vision the same way we saw it, we didn’t have a shared vision." Boehly is not alone in wanting this model.

Liverpool's Arne Slot has also been given the job title of head coach. His predecessor Jurgen Klopp was a manager, however, the decision to make Slot a head coach once again feeds into the modern theory of how modern football clubs operate.