Zagallo is the first person to win the World Cup (twice!) both as a player and as a manager, and he’s one of the most well-known and respected coaches in Brazil.
Intelligent, charismatic, accommodating, and peaceful, he is tactically prepared and places technique at the heart of his approach.
He believes that in an organized and united context, technique always prevails as long as it is accompanied by a spirit of sacrifice.
In simple terms, he believes that the best players should always play, even if it means not playing in their natural positions.
His teams are built on the principle of “pass & move,” emphasizing dynamism and constant movement to create passing options, especially between the fullbacks (who should always be offensive-minded) and the attacking midfielders.
Enzo Bearzot puts the team above everything else.
He can have ten phenomenal players, but if each one plays for themselves, things won’t go well.
He loves eclectic, modern, and versatile players and proposes a style of football that is a mix between the Dutch total football and Italian catenaccio.
He is not a defensive-minded coach, but an intelligent and cultured man who adores players with above-average IQ regardless of their age, and he places his hopes on them.
He promotes a football that is at times attacking, pragmatic, yet aesthetically pleasing (Italy in ’78 played beautiful football!), with a solid defense, a playmaker, and one or two forwards.
An incredibly successful coach, he was not particularly known for his tactical abilities, but rather for bringing out the best in his players.
He is a skilled psychologist, modern, and does not tolerate those who do not share his principles, but he is the best friend of those who admire him.
Before players, he wants men, professionals willing to give their all for the cause.
Unlike great German coaches, he is not authoritarian, but understands well the individuals he has in front of him and adjusts accordingly: his football, therefore, reflects his personality.
Like chameleons, his teams adapt to the available resources: they can play an offensive and aggressive style or a more defensive and patient one.
Ambitious, knowledgeable, intelligent, his style of football is pragmatic, efficient, and concrete, with few aesthetic flourishes typical of La nuestra. Bilardo is focused on the result, or rather, on victory.
Often his teams are accused of doing the bare minimum necessary to win.
This doesn’t mean they play poorly, quite the opposite!
They simply don’t get lost in futile aesthetics, circus-like tricks, or other distractions.
In general, a large part of the players on the field are tasked with defending (at least 6 or 7 players), while the remaining ones have predominantly offensive roles.
His teams are solid and well-structured, where nothing is left to chance from a tactical standpoint.
Didier possesses the kind of personality that desires constant presence with his players.
He has always shown a keen interest in the psychological aspects of our sport, recognizing the significance of understanding your teammates or, in today’s context, knowing your players.
It is often said that he is a pragmatic individual, and I believe this holds true in the sense that he relentlessly strives to extract the best results from any given situation, regardless of injuries or players experiencing a dip in form.
He maintains precision and sets high standards, yet remains open to listening to his players. The strength of Didier Deschamps’ teams lies in the cohesiveness and collective power they possess. The unity of the group is their greatest asset. Ultimately, Deschamps’ forte lies in his ability to analyze opponents and devise effective strategies to secure victories.
Moreover, he has brought comprehension, pragmatism, common sense, and adaptability to his role, qualities that arguably served him well during his time as a midfield player surrounded by more glamorous talents.
Vicente del Bosque
He’s a highly respected coach, known for his exceptional human qualities.
He’s respectful, straightforward, and has a no-nonsense approach.
He has a soft touch and firmly believes in fostering a culture of dialogue. He engages in frequent conversations with his players, avoiding conflicts, and his primary goal is to create a serene environment within the team that promotes unity.
He adeptly avoids clashes through his extraordinary diplomacy, enabling players to give their best.
He perfects the possession game, playing a fluid, mesmerizing style of football that is almost serene but can suddenly burst into acceleration. He enjoys utilizing the double pivot, granting the team greater attacking freedom, and he relishes playing with a false nine to enhance the fluidity of the offensive maneuvers.
Ramsey’s contemporary tactical philosophy was accompanied by a firmness that required a consistently high level of performance and dependability from his players, both on and off the field.
There was little tolerance for preferential treatment within Ramsey’s England squads, and he placed significant emphasis on physical fitness alongside tactical acumen.
His reputation was founded on his tactical acuity and the ability to extract exceptional performances even from players with moderate talent.
Moreover, he possessed a groundbreaking commitment to meticulousness, particularly in terms of physical development and match preparation.
He is an extensively prepared coach, known for his adaptability and versatility, and his style of play combines both intensity and technical proficiency.
A true legend of Uruguayan football, Tabarez is a calm and polished individual, yet his teams fully embody the warrior gladiator spirit, known as the “Garra Charrúa“
However, this doesn’t mean that his teams are flawed or poor! Instead, his Uruguay is an incredibly gritty, tenacious, and determined squad that fights for every ball, making sacrifice its greatest strength.
Every player on the field is expected to contribute with sacrifice and running, with no room for superstars or prima donnas.
Tabarez is an intelligent coach who adapts tactics and playing style to the available resources and, when equipped with talented players, also produces aesthetically pleasing football characterized by quick triangulations, direct passes, and a search for depth.
In Rinus Michels’ football philosophy, the collective takes precedence above all else.
At the heart of his game lies the relentless pursuit of multiple passing lanes for the ball carrier. This necessitates coordinated movements from all players, creating valuable spaces for their teammates to exploit.
According to Michels, a team is a fusion of diverse individual entities (the players) that must be managed and orchestrated to achieve harmony.
Psychologically, he imposes strict discipline, fostering no room for camaraderie but emphasizing hierarchy and the cultivation of a common adversary.
Collectivism, versatility, synchronicity, high-pressing, and seamless coordination epitomize the revolutionary nature of his footballing approach.
Jose Mourinho is known for his tactical acumen, meticulous attention to detail, and ability to extract the best out of his players.
He emphasizes a solid defensive organization and counterattacking prowess, often employing a pragmatic approach to achieve results.
Mourinho’s success stems from his ability to create a winning mentality within his teams, fostering a strong team spirit and instilling a siege mentality to overcome challenges.
In addition to his tactical prowess, Mourinho is known for his charismatic and commanding presence on the sidelines, often displaying a strong sense of leadership and authority. He has a knack for instilling discipline and creating a winning culture within his teams.
Mourinho’s ability to handle high-pressure situations and make astute game-changing decisions has earned him a reputation as a master strategist. His meticulous preparation and focus on exploiting opponents’ weaknesses further contribute to his success as a top-level manager in the world of football.
Zlatko Dalić is highly regarded for his astute tactical acumen and ability to inspire his players.
He emphasizes a balanced and organized style of play, focusing on solid defensive structure and swift transitions in attack.
He is praised for his ability to foster a strong team spirit, unity, and resilience, which have been instrumental in achieving notable results against formidable opponents.
In addition to his tactical acumen, Dalić is known for his calm and composed demeanor, providing stability and confidence to his players during crucial moments.
He possesses excellent man-management skills, effectively getting the best out of his squad and creating a positive team dynamic. Dalić’s ability to make timely substitutions and adjustments during matches showcases his tactical flexibility and keen understanding of the game.
He is recognized for his innovative tactical approach and ability to adapt to different playing styles.
He places a strong emphasis on possession-based football, encouraging his teams to dominate the midfield and control the tempo of the game.
Kachalin is known for his meticulous attention to detail in both offensive and defensive phases, meticulously organizing his teams to exploit the opposition’s weaknesses.
In addition to his tactical prowess, Kachalin is highly regarded for his excellent communication skills and ability to build strong relationships with his players.
He creates a positive and harmonious team environment, fostering trust and unity among the squad. Kachalin’s keen eye for talent and knack for player development have resulted in the emergence of promising young stars under his guidance.
Gusztáv Sebes is renowned for his visionary tactical innovations and forward-thinking approach to the game.
He is often credited with revolutionizing the “Golden Team” of Hungary in the 1950s, implementing an attacking style of play known as “The Magical Magyars.”
Sebes emphasized fluid passing, intelligent positional play, and relentless pressing to dominate matches.
His ability to blend individual talent into a cohesive unit resulted in Hungary’s impressive unbeaten run during that era.
Sebes’s meticulous planning and attention to detail, combined with his ability to motivate and inspire his players, cemented his status as a pioneering coach in the history of football.
Raymond Goethals is revered for his tactical expertise and remarkable ability to transform teams into formidable forces.
Known as “The Magician“, Goethals was a master of adapting his strategies to exploit the strengths of his players and exploit opponents’ weaknesses.
His teams were characterized by disciplined defensive structures, swift counterattacks, and a relentless work ethic.
Goethals was also celebrated for his exceptional man-management skills and the deep connections he formed with his players.
He had a unique knack for instilling a winning mentality and fostering a strong team spirit. Goethals’ charismatic personality and ability to inspire his squads often resulted in remarkable performances and success on the highest stage.
Václav Ježek is celebrated for his revolutionary and avant-garde approach to the beautiful game.
Renowned for his tactical brilliance, Ježek was a true innovator, constantly pushing the boundaries of traditional football strategies. His teams showcased a mesmerizing blend of dynamic attacking play, intricate passing movements, and relentless pressing.
Ježek had a remarkable ability to identify and nurture young talents, unlocking their full potential and allowing them to flourish under his guidance.
His focus on technical excellence and creative freedom enabled his players to express themselves with flair and ingenuity on the field.
Furthermore, Ježek was known for fostering a strong sense of unity and discipline within his squads.
He emphasized the importance of team cohesion and collective responsibility, creating a harmonious environment where players thrived and worked towards a common goal.
Sepp Piontek is widely revered for his tactical genius and groundbreaking approach to the game.
Piontek’s teams showcased an electrifying style of play, characterized by fluid attacking movements, precise passing, and rapid transitions.
When he became the manager of the Danish national team, in addition to implementing a spectacular attacking style of play, he brought several players in line by emphasizing the importance of professionalism both on and off the field.
He was attentive to rules, meticulous, and demanded the same from his players, who were accustomed to a less professional conduct.
Vujadin Boskov not only implemented an exciting attacking game, but he also whipped several players into shape, placing a strong emphasis on professionalism both on and off the field.
He was a stickler for the rules and expected nothing less from his players, who were used to a lackluster approach.
He believed in the importance of maintaining a strong defensive structure and was meticulous in organizing his team’s defensive positioning.
His teams were known for their solid defensive lines, disciplined marking, and effective pressing to win back possession.
Boskov emphasized teamwork and collective responsibility, ensuring that all players contributed to defensive efforts.
In the attacking phase, Boskov encouraged creative freedom and fluidity. He favored quick and incisive passing, often incorporating offensive players with good technique and vision. His teams played with a combination of patient build-up and swift attacking transitions, capitalizing on the opponents’ weaknesses.
Sir Alex Ferguson, one of the most successful managers in football history, was known for his distinctive and influential style of play. At the core of Ferguson’s philosophy was an attacking mindset, relentless pressing, and a strong emphasis on teamwork and discipline.
One of Ferguson’s key principles was the importance of building from a solid defensive foundation. His teams were organized and disciplined in their defensive structure, with a focus on pressing high up the pitch to disrupt the opponents’ build-up play. Ferguson believed in the value of a strong defensive unit that could withstand pressure and launch quick counter-attacks.
In terms of attacking play, Ferguson encouraged his teams to play with flair and creativity. His sides were known for their fast-paced, attacking football, characterized by dynamic wing play and quick transitions. Ferguson’s teams often deployed wingers who would provide width and deliver crosses into the box, creating numerous goal-scoring opportunities.
Ferguson’s tactical flexibility was another hallmark of his managerial success. He was adept at adapting his strategies based on the strengths of his squad and the weaknesses of the opposition. Whether it was employing a traditional 4-4-2 formation or experimenting with different systems, Ferguson had a keen sense of tactical awareness and was not afraid to make bold changes during matches to seize control.
Another critical aspect of Ferguson’s success was his man-management skills. He had a unique ability to motivate and inspire his players, creating a strong team spirit and a winning mentality. Ferguson instilled a sense of unity and discipline within his squads, demanding high levels of professionalism and dedication.
A revolutionary coach who orchestrated a series of miracles, he conquered all with teams that were far from extraordinary. The keywords of his football are fluidity, pressing, and technique.
In terms of attacking play, Happel encouraged dynamic and direct football. His teams often relied on fast-paced transitions, with quick passing and intelligent movement off the ball. Happel’s sides were known for their incisive attacking moves, with players making well-timed runs and exploiting spaces in the opposition’s defense.
Happel was also known for his ability to adapt his tactics based on the strengths of his team and the weaknesses of the opponents. He was not afraid to experiment with different formations and strategies, always seeking to exploit any tactical advantage. Happel’s flexibility allowed him to devise game plans that suited the specific circumstances of each match.
Furthermore, he was renowned for his meticulous preparation and attention to detail. He studied the opposition, analyzing their strengths and weaknesses, and devising strategies to neutralize their threats. Happel’s thorough approach to game analysis and his ability to make tactical adjustments during matches were key factors in his success.
Valeriy Lobanovskyi was an innovative revolutionary coach, shaping the game we know today in a way reminiscent of Total Football.
Lobanovskyi’s teams embodied the essence of Total Football. They defended as a unit, aggressively pressing opponents with the forward player being the first line of defense. In possession, they exploited the spaces carved out by their defensive tactics, breaking with pace.
Yet, what truly set Lobanovskyi apart was his application of science and statistics to football.
He gathered vast amounts of data on their players and opponents, developing mathematical models that defined training regimes and in-game strategies. His meticulous approach aimed at reducing errors to a minimum, making Dynamo’s players as fit as possible and enhancing their collective game-reading abilities.
iechniczek is renowned for his meticulous attention to detail and his ability to adapt his coaching style to suit the strengths of his team.
He firmly believes in an attacking philosophy that emphasizes quick, incisive passing, fluid movement off the ball, and high-tempo play. His teams are known for their attractive and dynamic style of football, often captivating fans with their entertaining performances.
Piechniczek has demonstrated a preference for a well-organized and disciplined style of play.
He frequently employs a variation of the 4-3-3 formation, which allows for both defensive solidity and offensive fluidity. His teams excel in maintaining a compact defensive shape while launching swift counter-attacks, exploiting spaces left by the opposition. This tactical approach often catches opponents off guard and puts them under significant pressure.
Trelles’ greatest strengths was his ability to motivate and inspire his players.
Known for his charismatic and passionate demeanor, he had a remarkable knack for instilling a winning mentality within his squads.
Trelles showcased his versatility as a coach by successfully employing various tactical formations throughout his career.
He was particularly renowned for his expertise in the 3-5-2 formation, which allowed for both defensive solidity and attacking prowess.
His teams displayed a high level of tactical discipline, with wingbacks providing width in attack and a compact midfield offering defensive stability.
Trelles’ tactical acumen allowed his teams to dominate matches and control the flow of play.
Throughout his career, Eriksson, who was initially inspired by Tord Grip, his former teammate and coach, favored the English style of football introduced by Bob Houghton and Roy Hodgson during their experiences in the Swedish league.
He primarily adopted playing formations such as the 4-4-2, which was seen and appreciated since his early successes with IFK Göteborg, and often utilized it in his subsequent experiences, including the 4-5-1 formation.
Eriksson’s playing system is based on a compact team and a dense network of passes, emphasizing the fundamental principles of zone play, maximizing the role of pressing and the use of the wings, while enhancing the physical and temperamental qualities of his players.
Jenei demonstrated exceptional game management skills and tactical adaptability.
He had a keen sense of reading the flow of a match, making strategic substitutions and adjustments to gain an advantage.
His ability to innovate and surprise opponents with his tactical decisions often proved decisive in overcoming challenges and achieving victory.
One of Jenei’s greatest strengths was his ability to inspire and motivate his players
Maturana proposes an offensive style of play where zonal play merges with South American technique and creativity.
He embraces attractive football, being a connoisseur of the beautiful game, aiming to entertain.
His teams play a type of football characterized by intricate passing sequences before suddenly accelerating.
Maturana utilizes the entire field to launch attacks, employing a classic playmaker as a number 10 (like Valderrama), employing a fully zonal defense, and relying on fast and skillful forwards.
Guus Hiddink’s tactical style is characterized by his emphasis on quick attacking, solid positioning, and fluid interplay between the midfield and forward players.
Hiddink has earned a reputation as a proponent of attacking football, employing various formations to optimize his team’s performance. These formations have ranged from a daring three-defender system (3-5-2) that forgoes a traditional supporting midfielder, which is considered highly risky and perilous, to a four-defender setup (4-5-1) featuring a formidable striker.
From a tactical standpoint, Hiddink places great importance on pressing as the fundamental building block.
When the team loses possession or the attack breaks down, Hiddink advocates for immediate engagement with the opponent in their own half, rather than rapidly retreating towards the goal.
Furthermore, he encourages his players to exploit all available spaces on the pitch instead of clustering in the central midfield area.
The coach of Japan desires a fast team that quickly transitions from defense to attack while also being capable of controlling the game when necessary.
He wants a team that thinks quickly, presses high, and swiftly recovers the ball from opponents to initiate fast counterattacks.
He places great importance on rapid triangular passing movements among midfielders and emphasizes an athletic and energetic style of play.
Winfried is a tactically astute coach who places great importance on a winning mentality and determination: he wants his players to give their all on the field.
He is also a tactical expert who works on the weaknesses of the team and molds his strategies based on the available resources at his disposal.
Pellegrini’s approach was centered around organized chaos, fluid attacking football, and tactical flexibility.
One of the hallmarks of Pellegrini’s tactics was a focus on possession-based football, but not for the sake of control. Instead, Pellegrini viewed possession as a tool for creating chances.
Pellegrini’s attacking players enjoyed complete positional freedom, which facilitated the creation of chances. The midfielders and forwards were free to operate within the middle of the pitch, which made Betis both unique and effective going forward.
In their build-up play, Betis excelled in finding ways out of high opposition press, quickly creating dangerous opportunities. Full-backs stretched the opposition press, making it difficult for them to cover all options. Meanwhile, defensive midfielders were positioned close to each other, between the lines when possible, to provide passing options and prevent isolation.
Pellegrini’s Betis was a testament to his ability to blend tactical flexibility, attacking fluidity, and positional freedom to create a formidable and entertaining football side.
Bruce Arena is a tactical expert who loves offensive, expansive yet at the same time direct and pragmatic football.
In general, Bruce Arena’s teams utilize the entire pitch, particularly the flanks.
He has a winning mentality and an authoritarian nature with his players. He demands the utmost from his players and places great importance on the spirit of sacrifice and tactical organization.
Clemens Westerhof is a clever and pragmatic coach who doesn’t want to impose tactics or schemes on his players, but rather leverages their best qualities.
Knowing the great athleticism of the Nigerian players, he proposes a game that is not overly tactical but focused on aggressive pressing, a lot of running from all players, doubling up on ball carriers, and quick ball recovery.
Gunes is an experienced coach who places great importance on discipline within the locker room and organized vertical football.
He is an excellent motivator and man-manager, as well as a tactical expert.
His teams are offensive, employing high-pressing and a high-tempo style of play.
All images used were taken from Wikipedia and may be reused according to the authors’ permissions on Wikipedia; credits are always cited where present; some images are in the public domain.
Please contact me if you believe an image does not meet the necessary credits and I will remove it immediately or cite the necessary credits.