Premier League Manager Preview 2020/21: Jose Mourinho, Slaven Bilic, David Moyes and Nuno Santo

Jack Kitson by Jack Kitson / 11 September 2020, 11:46

We arrive at the final section in our-five part Premier League Manager Previews special, which features two former Man Utd managers and two bosses with the best beards in the managerial game.

Let’s investigate further...

Jose Mourinho (Tottenham)

If Jose Mourinho needed an image re-brand, the new Spurs documentary has done him wonders. As you’d probably expect the series is very much The Mourinho Show with the Portuguese coach oozing charm, ego and the occasional flicker of ruthlessness.

He’ll now be targeting silverware in his first full season at Spurs, plus a top-four finish.

Last season

Tottenham endured a shocking start but it was still a huge shock when the club revealed that they had sacked Mauricio Pochettino, less than five months after he led the club to the Champions League final.

In came Mourinho, and while the club are yet to fully convince, there have been gradual signs of progress with only three teams collecting more points since his appointment. However, in the end they missed out on a lucrative Champions League spot (6th).

Strengths

A serial trophy winner. Mourinho’s recent tenures at Chelsea and Man Utd may have ended badly but he did win a Premier League, two League Cups, the Europa League and Community Shield across the two spells.

Mourinho is a huge personality who makes the players he appreciates feel loved. Spurs hope that his strong man-management and leadership skills, complete confidence in his ability and determination to win at all costs will bring about a winning-culture at the club.

Areas of Improvement

Mourinho is famed for his defensive organisation but Spurs have yet to convince at the back, something he’s looked to resolve by bringing in right-back Matt Doherty and the tough-tackling defensive midfielder Pierre-Emile Hojberg.

Who knows what’s going to happen to Tanguy Ndombele. If Mourinho can work his magic and get the best out of the £53.8m French midfielder then he’ll feel like a new signing.

Target

It’s fair to say that a title charge is unlikely but Tottenham will be looking to build on a strong finish to last term and mount a top-four push. 

Odds

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Can Jose Mourinho win silverware this season?

Slaven Bilic (West Brom)

Slaven Bilic is back in the Premier League for the first time since 2017, when he was manager of West Ham. He previously led the club to 7th, a position that is surely out of West Brom’s reach, with survival the goal.

Last season

In his first season Bilic propelled West Brom into the Premier League after securing the second automatic promotion spot. 

The Baggies went unbeaten in their opening nine games and lost only once through to late December, to Leeds. The pressure then appeared to get to the players who hobbled over the line, but they eventually secured promotion on the final day.

Strengths

Last season West Brom didn’t lose a single game after going ahead while they carved out a knack for scoring in the last 15minutes of matches. 

They also lost just seven of their 46 games in the league - fewer than any other club - had the joint-best away record, and scored 77 goals.

Both Grady Diangana and Matheus Pereira impressed on loan last season and have both since signed permanent deals.

Areas of Improvement

West Brom were excellent in the first-half of 2019/20 but then endured a worrying wobble, which included a seven game winless run, followed by a poor finish to the season in which they failed to win any of their final five matches but clinched promotion by the skin of their teeth. Bilic needs to restore that earlier confidence.

West Brom may have scored 77 goals last season but they lack a stand-out top-flight striker. It remains to be seen whether they will convince as an attacking unit in the Premier League.

More consistency is also needed at the back.

Target

Avoid the drop. Bilic’s Premier League experience will be pivotal.

Odds

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David Moyes is the new favourite for the chop

David Moyes (West Ham)

The vastly improved performances towards the end of last season gave West Ham fans some rare positivity.

Yet the recent sale of Grady Diangana and no new signings have engulfed the club in a pool of negativity once again, with David Moyes now the bookmakers favourite to become the first First Premier League Manager To Leave.

Last season

West Ham sacked Manuel Pellegrini three days after Christmas following a run of nine defeats in 12 games. 

Back came the man that he replaced, Moyes, who won his first game but then struggled through to July. Performances and results then significantly improved as the Hammers swatted away relegation.

Strengths

Moyes’ ‘ideal team’ are tactically disciplined and well organised, traits not familiar with his West Ham side. 

January signings Jarrod Bowen and Tomas Soucek - the latter’s loan has since been made permanent - both made an impact while Michail Antonio considerably raised his game under Moyes; netting nine league goals, having previously only scored once in 2019/20 under Pellegrini. 

Declan Rice continued to grow in confidence, and it goes without saying Moyes must cling onto him for as long as he can.

Areas of Improvement

West Ham only registered 39 points; 13 points fewer than 2018/19 and their lowest haul since they were relegated in 2011.

A league high 26 points were thrown away after taking the lead, while they were consistently mediocre both at home and away: ranking 16th in each table.

Only the bottom four clubs leaked in more goals than West Ham’s 62. Moyes needs to sort out a defence which has yet to gel collectively. Signing James Tarkowski would help. More energy is needed from the full-backs, an area the Scot will be desperate to strengthen.

Sebastien Haller and Felipe Anderson cost nearly £90m combined yet neither are guaranteed starters. Moyes either needs to get rid or find a way to re-energise the stagnating duo.

Target

With the pressure already mounting Moyes will be eager to start the season brightly. Unfortunately, the Scot comes up against Wolves, Leicester, Tottenham and Man City early doors...

Odds

Nuno Santo (Wolves)

Wolves fans, get ready to breathe a collective sigh of relief and punch the air in joy as Nuno Santo is now expected to pen a new three-year deal. Saying the Portuguese coach is popular at the club is somewhat of a colossal understatement.

Last season

Wolves made it back-to-back 7th place finishes and in the process set a new club Premier League points record (59). Nuno conjured up a league double over Pep Guardiola, led his troops to the quarter-finals of the Europa League, and the FA Cup semi-finals.

Strengths

Santo has overseen a huge transition at Wolves who operate effectively in a cohesive, harmonious system with his side’s ability to unbalance teams combined with their ruthlessness on the counter frustrating many an opponent.

Last season they juggled domestic and European football admirably, and only missed out on a top-six finish on goal difference.

The players work hard for each other and their manager. Their never-say-die attitude showed in 21 points rescued from losing positions last season - a league high.

Raul Jiminez continued to excel under Nuno, while the pace, power and panache of Adama Traore is just dazzling. In Conor Coady, he has a fine leader who organises the three-man defence expertly.

Areas of Improvement

Wolves will not want a repeat of their start to last season, which saw them fail to win any of their opening six games, while they triumphed just twice in 11.

The Midlands club were also slow starters in matches; scoring just 14 first-half goals.

As mentioned, Wolves were strong in all competitions last season, but if they want to make the step up more strength in depth is needed to push towards the top-six and challenge for a domestic trophy.

Target

To topple their points tally again and try to break into the top-six. There’s no European football this year but Wolves are priced at 22/1 to win the FA Cup for the first time since 1960, while they are available at a tasty 25/1 for League Cup success.

Odds

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