Ranked: Every Chelsea manager of the Roman Abramovich Era

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Ranked: Every Chelsea manager of the Roman Abramovich Era

Ever since Russian Billionaire Roman Abramovich bought Chelsea back in 2003, the club has endured an unprecedented 18 years of success.

But with Abramovich, came a huge demand for consistent success domestically and in Europe with many Chelsea managers lasting fewer than 2 years at the helm.

Thomas Tuchel is the latest man to try his luck in the hot seat and has started his Chelsea career extremely well so far. Winning the Champions League, reaching an FA Cup final and gaining Champions League qualification.

The German is also atop of the Premier League summit after 11 games and has already qualified for the next stage in the Champions League.

But where does Tuchel rank, along with the many managers hired and fired under the  Abramovich era starting from 2003?

Ranked: Every Chelsea manager of the Roman Abramovich Era

15. Luiz Felipe Scolari

 

Reign: July 2008 – February 2009

Trophies Won: None

Record: P36 W20 D11 L5

Win Percentage: 55%

After the disappointing end to the previous season, Chelsea fans were getting ready for the arrival of World Cup-winning boss Felipe Scolari.

The idea of bringing Brazilian flair to Stamford Bridge was said to be a dream of Abramovich, who craved free-flowing attacking football.

After a promising start, Chelsea looked void of idea’s and looking wide open at the back. Rumours of player power began to circulate, with the writing was on the wall for Scolari who was sacked after seven months in charge.

He would later admit that his sacking came down to ”communication issues” with some players in the squad.

14. Andre Villas-Boas

 

Reign: June 2011 – March 2012

Trophies Won: None

Record: P40 W19 D11 L10

Win Percentage: 47.5%

After the sacking of Carlo Ancelotti in the summer of 2011, the excitement surrounding the arrival of Andre Villas-Boas to Stamford Bridge was monstrous.

Dubbed the new Mourinho by many, Villas-Boas had a big reputation for being one of the most exciting young managers in Europe.

Winning the treble with Porto the season before, AVB was known for his attacking football and installing faith in youth.

However, the young manager was quick to realise that phasing out the old guard in Chelsea would need time. With reported bust-ups with Frank Lampard, Nicolas Anelka and Florent Malouda leading to his departure.

13. Guus Hiddink II

 

Reign: December 2015 – May 2016

Trophies Won: None

Record: P27 W10 D11 L6

Win Percentage: 58%

Brought in for a second time in an attempt to heal the wounds left by Jose Mourinho after the Portuguese’s sacking in December 2015, with the Blues in 16th position.

Hiddink’s arrival saw his side lose to PSG in the Champions League knockout rounds for a second consecutive season and a Quarter-Final defeat to Everton in the FA Cup followed.

Finishing the season in a disastrous 10th place, Hiddink left doing what he needed to do, steady the ship and start preparations for the next manager to fix.

12. Avram Grant

 

Reign: September 2007 – May 2008

Trophies Won: None

Record: P54 W36 D13 L5

Win Percentage: 66%

After the departure of Jose Mourinho in the summer of 2007, Chelsea went for a short term fix with director of football Avram Grant on an interim basis.

The Israeli did well while in charge of the club, leading them close to all four titles, but winning none meant Abramovich had seen enough, with Grant leaving at the end of the season.

In the Premier League, the Blues pushed Manchester United to the final day of the season after a late surge but ultimately finished 2nd.

Domestically, Chelsea squandered a lead to Tottenham in the League Cup final and was surprisingly knocked out by Barnsley in the Quarter-Finals of the FA Cup.

Grant also led Chelsea to their first-ever Champions League final appearance. Coming within a post after John Terry slipped to win it. Ultimately the Blues lost 6-5 on penalties to Manchester United.

11. Rafa Benitez

 

Reign: November 2012 – May 2013

Trophies Won: 1 Europa League

Record: P48 W28 D10 L10

Win Percentage: 58%

Picking up the pieces after Roberto Di Matteo’s ruthless sacking in November 2012, Abramovich went for an unpopular appointment in former Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez on an interim basis.

Chelsea fans hated the Spaniard for his Liverpool background and negative comments on the club during his time in Merseyside. But, nonetheless, Benitez was brought in to steady the ship.

Winless in his opening three Premier League games and losing the Club World Cup final to Corinthians, Chelsea fans were unforgiving in their treatment of the Spaniard.

However, form picked up and Benitez ended up finishing 3rd in the Premier League and managing Chelsea to their first Europa League triumph with a 2-1 win over Benfica in Amsterdam.

Ranked: Every Chelsea manager of the Roman Abramovich Era

10. Frank Lampard

 

Reign: July 2019 – January 2021

Trophies Won: None

Record: P84 W44 D17 L23

Win Percentage: 53%

Brought in during the summer of 2019, Lampard left Derby to return to the club he called ”his club”. Joining when the club was faced with a transfer ban and without star player Eden Hazard. Lampard’s first season in charge was always going to be assessed sympathetically.

But, Lampard overperformed to a certain extent, securing Champions League football with a team full of youth stars and reaching an FA Cup final

Losing 2-1 to Arsenal before being pulled apart by Bayern Munich in the Champions League followed, Lampard was given mountains to spend in the summer to fix the obvious deficiencies in his squad.

The signings of Timo Werner, Kai Havertz, Hakim Ziyech, Thiago Silva, Ben Chilwell and Edouard Mendy saw a massive transfer overhaul in Lampard’s second season and from then on, it all went downhill.

He was never able to find the proper system to incorporate all his new signings, and troubles behind the scenes saw Chelsea ninth and 11 points of the top when Lampard was sacked.

His managerial legacy at Chelsea will go down to his faith in Mason Mount, Reece James and co, who have now cemented their place in the squad for years to come.

9. Maurizio Sarri

 

Reign: July 2018 – June 2019

Trophies Won: 1 Europa League

Record: P63 W38 D14 L11

Win Percentage: 63%

Brought in to fix the chaos Antonio Conte left, Sarri was a different approach to Chelsea’s usual manager choices. Enjoying a good start to life in London, going unbeaten in his first 12 Premier League games.

Chelsea were playing what was known as ”Sarriball”, attacking football with a high press. However, their form dwindled come February with a 4-0 loss to Bournemouth and a 6-0 loss to Manchester City acting as the catalyst to many fans turning on the Italian.

He ultimately went on to win his first-ever major trophy, with a 4-1 win over Arsenal in the Europa League. A case of gone too soon for some. For other’s, it was met with good riddance.

8. Claudio Ranieri

 

Reign: September 2000 – May 2004 (Abramovich buys club in July 2003)

Trophies Won: None

Record: P184 W95 D44 L45

Win Percentage: 53%

The first manager under the Roman Abramovich era, Ranieri only managed to secure one season under the Russian.

Before Abramovich’s arrival, Ranieri had done a steady job with the London club. Leading them to the 2002 FA Cup final and moving up the league table from 6th to 2nd in four seasons.

Overseeing the breakthrough of John Terry and purchasing Frank Lampard for £11 million in 2001, Ranieri laid a lot of the groundwork for Mourinho.

In his final season, Ranieri finished second behind Arsenal’s invincible’s, although knocking them out of the Champions League Quarter-Finals thanks to a Wayne Bridge winner.

7. Guus Hiddink I

 

Reign: February 2009 – May 2009

Trophies Won: 1 FA Cup

Record: P22 W16 D5 L1

Win Percentage: 72%

The first interim manager under the Abramovich regime, Guus Hiddink came into Chelsea hoping to salvage the remainder of the season after Scolari’s dismissal.

Losing only once, Chelsea finished 3rd, six points of the top and were controversially knocked out of the semi-final stage in the Champions League to Barcelona after a 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge.

However, Hiddink did find success, winning the FA Cup after a 2-1 win against Everton at Wembley.

Adored by Chelsea fans, Hiddink left at the end of the season to continue his role as manager of the Russian national team, making the semi-finals of Euro 2008.

6. Thomas Tuchel

 

Reign: January 2021 – Present

Trophies Won: 1 Champions League, 1 Super Cup

Record: P48 W33 D8 L5

Win Percentage: 77%

The latest man to try his luck in the Chelsea dugout, Thomas Tuchel has turned out to be an inspired choice after the tough dismissal of club legend Frank Lampard.

Taking charge in January, it has only taken Tuchel six months to put his imprint on this Chelsea side. Managing to secure top 4, reaching an FA Cup final and switching to three-at-the-back, Tuchel went unbeaten in his first 14 games across all competitions.

His biggest achievement thus far is spearheading his side to their second Champions League triumph with a 1-0 win over Manchester City in Porto.

Now on the cusp of his first full season with the Blues, Tuchel currently sits top of the Premier League table, in a League Cup Quarter-Final and securing passage into the knockout stages of the Champions League. It could be another successful season as of yet for the German.

But only tie will tell.

Ranked: Every Chelsea manager of the Roman Abramovich Era

5. Jose Mourinho II

 

Reign: June 2013 – December 2015

Trophies Won: 1 Premier League, 1 League Cup

Record: P136 W80 D27 L29

Win Percentage: 59%

Returning after seven years, the newly dubbed ”Happy One” made a spectacular return to Chelsea after leaving Real Madrid in 2013. Tasked with bringing the same glory back to West London as he did in his first stint.

His first season saw a Chelsea side falter against the smaller teams, dropping points to Norwich, Sunderland and Crystal Palace, where if they had won, would have seen Mourinho pick up his third league title success in England.

After calling his side ”a little horse”, Mourinho went big in his second season. Signing Diego Costa, Cesc Fabregas and the return of Thibaut Courtois from loan saw his side ease to another league title and a league cup success.

Blowing teams away in the first half of the season, before Mourinho shut up shop after a 5-3 drubbing to Tottenham towards the end of the year.

But his infamous third season syndrome turned into a horrid show for Mourinho and Chelsea, with Chelsea close to the relegation zone come Christmas, losing 9 of their opening 16 games.

Mourinho was eventually sacked due to a ”palpable discord” within the squad.

4. Roberto Di Matteo

 

Reign: March 2012 – November 2012

Trophies Won: 1 Champions League, 1 FA Cup

Record: P42 W25 D8 L9

Win Percentage: 57%

Merely seen to bring some level of consistency to the squad by seeing out the remainder of the season after the sacking of Andre Villas-Boas, assistant manager and Chelsea legend Roberto Di Matteo would lead Chelsea to their first-ever Champions League triumph.

Di Matteo’s run in the Champions League was fairytale stuff, coming back from a 3-1 away loss to Napoli to win 5-4 on aggregate, beating Benfica before shocking Barcelona in the semi-final.

They faced Bayern Munich in Germany, two weeks after lifting the FA Cup in a 2-1 win against Liverpool, winning the European Cup thanks to a Didier Drogba penalty.

That was more than enough to give Di Matteo the permanent job, however, entering the Europa League from the Champions League group stages the following season saw Di Matteo sacked in November.

3. Antonio Conte

 

Reign: July 2016 – July 2018

Trophies Won: 1 Premier League, 1 FA Cup

Record: P106 W69 D17 L20

Win Percentage: 65%

With Mourinho long gone, Chelsea hired fiery manager Antonio Conte in an attempt to catapult them up the league table after an awful 10th place finish a season prior.

After 3 wins from 3 in their opening league games, it looked like Conte would struggle to adapt to English football after back-to-back losses to Liverpool and a 3-0 drubbing to Arsenal.

Immediately after this, Conte worked his magic, switching to a three at the back, using Victor Moses and Marcos Alonso as wing-backs saw Chelsea go on a 13-game winning run, six consecutive clean sheets and beating the likes of Manchester United, Manchester City and Tottenham.

That was the catalyst for Chelsea’s fifth Premier League title, winning 30 league games – the first side in English football history to do so.

Reaching the FA Cup final in the same season, Conte’s side ultimately lost 2-1 to Arsenal, before winning the competition the following season against Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United 1-0 – his final game in charge of Chelsea.

His second season in charge was all but easygoing. Losing their opening game at home to Burnley was the mood setter, with Conte very unhappy with the lack of transfer activity and the underwhelming signings that followed.

2. Carlo Ancelotti

 

Reign: June 2009 – May 2011

Trophies Won: 1 Premier League, 1 FA Cup

Record: P109 W67 D20 L22

Win Percentage: 61%

Following the manager merry-go-round in the prior season. Proven European winner Carlo Ancelotti was given the reigns at Stamford Bridge.

And the Italian led the club to their first-ever League and FA Cup double in his first season.

During their Premier League win, Chelsea broke records. Scoring a record-breaking 103 goals, including 7+ on four different occasions, only beaten by an 8-0 win over Wigan Athletic on the final day of the season wrapping up Chelsea’s 4th league title in their history in style.

They would go on to beat Portsmouth 1-0 in the FA Cup final to secure their first-ever and only double under Abramovich.

However, like many managers since then, his second season was seen as a failure by Abramovich, finishing second and failing in every cup competition. The Italian was sacked on the final day of the season in the Goodison Park tunnel after a 1-0 loss to Everton.

1. Jose Mourinho I

 

Reign: June 2004 – September 2007

Trophies Won: 2 Premier Leagues, 2 League Cups, 1 FA

Record: P185 W124 D40 L21

Win Percentage: 67%

Mourinho’s first spell in charge of the Londoners was so successful that it will take something special to topple.

Fresh from winning the Champions League with Porto in 2004, Mourinho built a defensive juggernaut in his first three seasons with the club. Winning the league cup and their first-ever Premier League title and first title in over 50 years.

Chelsea would go on to lose one game that Premier League season, only conceding 15 goals (a record still yet to be broken), an average of 0.39 per game.

They would go on to break the Premier League record for most points with 95, which stood for 13 years before Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City broke it in 2017/18 with 100 points.

Another league title followed and a second League Cup victory, before capping off his first stint in England with an FA Cup victory over Manchester United.

While never managing to secure European success with Chelsea, Mourinho will forever be known as the ”Special One” and will go down as Chelsea’s greatest ever manager.

Ranked: Every Chelsea manager of the Roman Abramovich Era

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