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Owen Coyle and impactful mid-season managerial appointments

04:25 GMT 05/03/2020
Mumbai City vs Chennaiyin
The Chennaiyin manager joins a list of top managers to turn the tide after taking reins of a club mid-season...

Chennaiyin FC are living the dream in the Indian Super League (ISL) under Owen Coyle. The Irishman pulled the two-time champions from the jaws of a disastrous season and oversaw their qualification to the play-offs of the 2019-20 season. A 4-1 win in the first leg of the play-offs against table-toppers and tournament favourites FC Goa means that the Marina Machans already have one foot in the final.

It's never easy for a manager to take over a club mid-way through the season, given there is not much time to study the players, build squad dynamics and implement his philosophy.

Coyle's work with Chennaiyin this season is hence, exemplary. We take a look at managers who were revived a club's season after a poor start and ended the season on a positive note.

  • Owen Coyle Chennaiyin FC

    #1 Owen Coyle (Chennaiyin FC 2019-20)

    We start by taking a deeper look at what Coyle has done at the Southern club. He took the reins at Chennaiyin on 4th December 2019 after John Gregory was sacked for replicating his poor form from last season. In the first six games, Chennaiyin picked up just one win - against tail-enders Hyderabad FC.

    Coyle's appointment saw the Marina Machans turn their season around drastically. They started the new era with a draw against Jamshedpur and went on to win nine of the 12 games in the league phase, facing defeat only against FC Goa. Now they have a three-goal advantage over the Gaurs after a sensational performance in the first leg of the play-offs.

  • Roberto di Matteo Chelsea

    #2 Roberto di Matteo (Chelsea 2012)

    It's impossible to talk about managers having an impact mid-season and not mention one of the greatest authors of London's footballing history. Chelsea were struggling under Andre Villas-Boas both domestically and in the Champions League. A 3-1 defeat to Napoli in the first leg of the last-16 was the last straw for the Portuguese and he was replaced by Roberto di Matteo ahead of the second leg.

    The Blues went on to defeat Pep Guardiola's Barcelona and an in-form Bayern Munich to become the first and only club from London to win the Champions League. They also won the FA Cup in the same season in what was a spectacular turnaround in fortunes.

  • Europa League Final: Rafa Benitez - Chelsea

    #3 Rafael Benitez (Chelsea 2012-13)

    Di Matteo was unable to sustain his short-term success and was shown the door after just eight months at the helm. A poor start to the season including a goup stage exit in the Champions League demanded a change in personnel in the coaching department. Enter Rafael Benitez.

    The former Liverpool manager arrived at the club at a challenging time. However, he led the Blues to a Europa League title after they qualified for the tournament by virtue of finishing third in the group stage of the Champions League. Chelsea defeated Benfica 2-1 in the final to secure a maiden Europa League title. In the league, they managed a top-three finish, something that seemed unlikely before Benitez arrived at the club.

  • Zinedine Zidane Real Madrid Champions League

    #4 Zinedine Zidane (Real Madrid 2015-16)

    The hero from the previous story is a villain here. Benitez started the 2015-16 season as Real Madrid's head coach but was unable to last a full season at the Spanish club. 17 wins in 25 games could not save his job as a 4-0 defeat at home to eternal rivals Barcelona stood out.

    The then B team manager Zinedine Zidane took over in January 2016 in what was his first top managerial role. He turned their season around to lead Los Blancos to their 11th Champions League title. The Frenchman went on to become the only manager to defend the title and then made it three in a row in the 2017-18 season.

  • Kenny Dalglish Liverpool

    #5 Kenny Dalglish (Liverpool 2010-11)

    A poor win-rate of just 42 per cent across all competitions earned Roy Hodgson a sack as Liverpool boss in January 2011. The onus to pull the club out of the dark period fell to club legend Kenny Dalglish. The Scot had no silverware to show for, but he turned the tide in the league, helping the Reds to a respectable sixth-place finish.

    They were 12th in the table before Dalglish took over. But after a tremendous run of form that included an unbeaten eight-game run, Liverpool finished the season just four points below a European position. They also signed Luis Suarez - who would go on to become one of their most crucial players for Liverpool.

  • Jupp Heynckes Bayern Munich

    #6 Jupp Heynckes (Bayern Munich 2017-18)

    Jupp Heynckes registered himself in Bayern Munich's history books after leading them to a historic continental treble in the 2012-13 season. Five years later, he returned to dig them out of the hole that Carlo Ancelotti put them in. The German giants were just three points off the top of the Bundesliga table in September but the poor style of play and the lack of conviction attracted criticism. It's also believed that the Italian manager had lost the dressing room.

    Heynckes returned to revive their attractive style of football, lead them to the title, winning it by a whooping 21 points and also took them to the semi-final of the Champions League. Most importantly, he brought around positive vibes within the club, something which was missing during Ancelotti's time.

  • Carlo Ancelotti AC Milan 2007

    #7 Carlo Ancelotti (AC Milan 2001-02)

    Carlo Ancelotti makes this list for not only turning around AC Mian's 2001-02 season but also transforming them into a European powerhouse. A poor start to the season earned Fatih Terim the sack in November. Ancelotti was roped in, with Milan in the fifth position at that point. The Italian managed a top-four finish, winning his club a European spot.

    In the table, this was just a leap of one position, but the story does not end here. This was the start of a golden period in Milan's history. They would go on to win the Serie A once and the Champions League twice with the Italian at the helm. Where did it all begin? A mid-season appointment and an impactful statement in the first season.