Which managers are starting the season under pressure?

Which managers are starting the season under pressure?

 

The new Premier League season is finally upon us, but some managers could be forgiven for feeling more anxious than excitement due to the pressure already building on their shoulders.

 

Such is the nature of life in the Premier League spotlight that a slow start to the season could result in managers losing their jobs, though they are all likely to last longer than Frank de Boer at Crystal Palace, the Dutchman being fired after just four games of the 2017-18 campaign.

 

Here are five Premier League managers who kick off the new season under pressure.

 

Frank Lampard, Everton

 

While Lampard was just about able to steer the Toffees to survival last term, another season of struggle could be in the offing for Everton after the sale of star forward Richarlison to Tottenham.

 

Belts have had to be tightened at Goodison Park with former Burnley defender James Tarkowski the only significant signing to date, with cash required for the club’s new stadium at the docks.

 

Tarkowski will be required to add steel and leadership to a leaky defence that shipped 66 league games in 2021-22. But the omens during pre-season were not good: Everton conceded eight times in their first three friendlies including an embarrassing 4-0 thumping to Minnesota United.

 

Much will depend on whether Lampard can get a tune out of January arrivals Nathan Patterson, Vitalii Mykolenko and Dele Alli, the latter of whom appears particularly key to their hopes.

 

Steve Cooper, Nottingham Forest

 

Cooper led Forest back to the Premier League after 23 years away but the Welshman cannot afford to rest on his laurels with much expected of his side after heavy investment on players.

 

The arrival of Jesse Lingard on eye-catching wages has made headlines – Forest reportedly offered the England international more money than West Ham – while the £100 million barrier is very likely to be broken if Forest continue to spend ahead of the transfer window closing.

 

Neco Williams has come in to replace Djed Spence at right-back, with Omar Richards arriving on the other side of the back line. Dean Henderson has joined from Manchester United on loan and the England goalkeeper is likely to have a busy time between the sticks at the City Ground. Much will also depend on whether Taiwo Awoniyi from Union Berlin justifies the £17.5 million spent on the Nigeria international forward, who scored 15 goals in the Bundesliga last season.

 

Forest insist they are not in the Premier League to make up the numbers with the club’s ambitious owners pushing for more than just survival. Cooper is a coach with a high pedigree – he led England to glory at the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup – but he has to keep delivering.

 

Thomas Tuchel, Chelsea

 

It is a new era at Stamford Bridge but Tuchel has been unable to conceal his frustration with owner Todd Boehly not providing the signings he needed. Tuchel’s previously rock-solid position at the club has been weakened by his failure to incorporate the club record signing Romelu Lukaku, on whom Chelsea cut their losses by allowing him to rejoin Inter Milan on loan, while significant sums have been spent on Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly and Raheem Sterling.

 

Koulibaly’s arrival helps to address the loss of Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen to Real Madrid and Barcelona on free transfers respectively, but Tuchel faces a battle to convince the club captain Cesar Azpilicueta to stay put rather than linking with Christensen at Camp Nou.

 

Tuchel has a wealth of young talent to call upon with former loan stars like Antonio Broja, Conor Gallagher and Levi Colwill ready to step up, but the demanding German has fallen out with executives at his clubs before. More Tuchel tensions are likely if Chelsea make a slow start.

 

Ralph Hasenhuttl, Southampton

 

There has been a change of strategy at Southampton over the summer, with more than £50 million spent on mostly inexperienced players to bolster Hasenhuttl’s squad at St Mary’s.

 

Rangers star Joe Aribo is perhaps the most exciting arrival but more signings are likely to follow Sekou Mara, Armel Bella-Kotchap, Romeo Lavia, Gavin Bazunu and Mateusz Lis to the club.

 

Southampton have finished 15th in each of the past two seasons but after loosening the purse strings much will be expected of Hasenhuttl to provide signs of progress after some stagnation.

 

Marco Silva, Fulham

 

Fulham spent a huge amount of money and were still relegated on their last Premier League sojourn, but Silva has been unable to conceal his frustration at the lack of signings this time.

 

The Portuguese has been given the green light to sign compatriot Joao Palhinha from Sporting, while Andreas Pereira has joined from Manchester United, but more bodies are needed.

 

Silva says Fulham need to “act faster” in the transfer market but the club’s owner Shad Khan is unlikely to welcome his criticism. Having been sacked by Watford in 2018 and Everton in 2019, Silva will be hoping to avoid making it an unwelcome trio of Premier League departures.

Author: Tamara Kim