The modern Premier League is demanding. Most managers know that a bad run of results, even if success has been secured before, could inevitably mean they end up fighting for their jobs. Moreover, such are the demands of the Premier League that sometimes good results aren’t enough: Managers have been sacked before not because they have failed to win games but because they haven’t won by playing attractive football.
The 2023/24 season is no different, of course. But who are the managers feeling the heat at this relatively early part of the season? Let’s dive in:
Erik Ten Hag – Manchester United
Before the season started, it was almost unthinkable that the Dutchman would be under pressure. After all, he had delivered United’s first trophy – last season’s EFL Cup – for several years, and he had finished third, securing Champions League Football. But while United started the season among the favorites in the Premier League title betting, they have been abject for the past few months. Moreover, Ten Hag is facing a lot of scrutiny for his decisions in the transfer market. Antony and Mason Mount cost the club a fortune, but they have failed to live up to the hype.
Verdict: Ten Hag will hang on. Manchester United have so many structural problems that the fans believe a change in the coaching department will make little difference.
Mauricio Pochettino – Chelsea
Few experts know what to make of Chelsea. The club has been one of the biggest spenders in world football in the last few years but still looks remarkably short of players. Mauricio Pochettino was seen as a steady hand for a club that constantly courts chaos. While, like Ten Hag, Pochettino is given the benefit of the doubt for the time being, there have been some terrible results already this season. In addition, Owner Todd Boehly does not seem to be the patient type.
Verdict: A brutal run of fixtures in early winter will heap even more pressure on Pochettino.
Vincent Kompany – Burnley
In the EFL Championship last season, Burnley were a joy to behold. They played free-flowing football that was a world away from the hallmarks of “classic” Burnley under Sean Dyche. However, what works in the Championship might not work in the Premier League. Critics have maintained that Kompany is being too naïve and that teams at the bottom of the ladder should try to be more dogged than stylish. They have 4 points at the time of writing and are in real trouble.
Verdict: Burnley fans love Kompany, but the harsh realities of Premier League survival may signal a change of heart.
Paul Heckingbottom – Sheffield United
Sheffield United, like Burnley, are at rock bottom. However, it feels unfair to signal out Heckingbottom for criticism, given the disparity in resources between his club and Kompany’s. Nonetheless, football club owners tend to get desperate when the points aren’t coming, and seemingly, the most logical thing to do is change the manager. Those in Heckingbottom’s position rarely hang on for long.
Verdict: Sadly, it looks like Heckingbottom will be sacked sooner rather than later.
Andoni Iraola – Bournemouth
The final name on this list is Iraola, whose Bournemouth team joins Sheffield United and Burnley in the relegation zone. Iraola does not have the benefit of having guided his team from the Championship last season. He was appointed to replace Gary O’Neill in June, and he has not made a strong start. Bournemouth fans are making their voices heard, and we fear that Iraola may be the next manager to lose his job.
Verdict: Unless there is a remarkable turnaround, it feels like Iraola will be replaced.