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Top 7 Toxic Coaches

Tuchel at Bayern Munich
© Ace Football

Unveiling the best football managers who are loved and hated at the same time for their habits and common practices.

7. Jorge Jesus’ Arrogance.

The Portuguese specialist Jorge Jesus is known for his self-aggrandizing comments, such as claiming to be the best coach in the world and believing no one knows more about football than him. At Benfica, he had to share credit with the club’s president since success depended significantly on the president’s generous investments. Jesus led Benfica to the finals of European competitions twice but failed to lift the curse that haunted the club in these showdowns. His controversial move to direct rivals Sporting CP earned him a torrent of hate, but that didn’t deter him. When his successor at Benfica, Rui Vitoria, took over, Jesus didn’t hesitate to taunt him after a head-to-head win, stating he had left Vitoria a Ferrari to manage. Jesus further derided Vitoria by claiming he did not consider him capable of managing such a team. Despite the mockery, Benfica won consecutive league titles under Vitoria’s management, while Jesus failed to secure a championship with Sporting. His never-back-down attitude was evident in conflicts, including altercations with police and unsportsmanlike interactions with opposing players. In his second stint with Al-Hilal, he was reported to have had issues with star players almost immediately, highlighted by rumors that Neymar had demanded his dismissal.

6. Delio Rossi’s Volatile Temperament.

Delio Rossi is a journeyman coach whose challenging demeanor has often led to short tenures at numerous clubs, including Lazio. His confrontational approach was not limited to club presidents, whom he accused of mistakenly believing they understood football. Despite a longstanding coaching career, Rossi’s most significant accomplishment was winning the Coppa Italia and a Serie B championship. His dealings with players were marred by instances like Guillermo Stendardo fleeing Lazio, citing inhuman treatment of his teammates. Rossi also had notorious run-ins with officials, such as receiving a red card not for an unruly fan’s actions but his own intrusion onto the pitch. However, his most infamous moment came while at Fiorentina, where he physically assaulted player Adem Ljajić during a game, apparently in retaliation for Ljajić’s sarcastic applause. Rossi tried to justify the assault by claiming Ljajić had insulted his mother, which was proven untrue. Rossi’s tenure at Fiorentina ended shortly after the incident, with the Serie A committee taking decisive action against his behavior.

5. Stanislav Cherchesov’s Contention and Confrontation.

Stanislav Cherchesov, known for his epic conflict with footballer Igor Denisov at Dynamo Moscow, had a tumultuous coaching career with a reputation for harsh man-management. During his tenure, he confronted Denisov over fielding a player that Denisov questioned why the best player wasn’t playing. Cherchesov is reported to have aggressively told not just Denisov but also his teammate Artur Yusupov, who intervened, to essentially mind their own business. Prior to Dynamo, while coaching Spartak Moscow, Cherchesov faced dissatisfaction among players for creating a severe atmosphere, banning mobile phones, and demoting key players like Yegor Titov, which effectively ended his career. Fans grew to despise Cherchesov so much that some even resorted to setting a stadium on fire during a Russian Cup match to demand his dismissal. Cherchesov also had a famously hostile relationship with journalists, intimidating one on live television and often resorting to offensive language. Despite his attempts to manage the Russian national team, Cherchesov’s toxic methods created a legacy of contention both within teams and publicly.

4. Jose Mourinho’s Broken Bridges.

The “Special One,” Jose Mourinho, once revered for his Midas touch, soon became synonymous with discord. Leading Chelsea to triumphs, the Portuguese tactician’s methods soured relationships. He ostracized Juan Mata, Chelsea’s star for two seasons, and infamously clashed with medical staff, resulting in Dr. Eva Carneiro’s departure. His third Chelsea tenure was marred by a catastrophic start, leading to claims that players “gave up” due to his unendurable nature. A prolonged contract to 2019 was cut short. At Manchester United, confrontations with stars like Paul Pogba became tabloid fodder, leading to his dismissal in his third season. Mourinho’s spell at Tottenham was undercut by player dissatisfaction, hinting at his knack for inciting conflict and eroding team spirit. The narrative of Mourinho winning trophies but leaving a trail of discord continues to define his polarizing career.

3. Louis van Gaal’s Ego Trip.

Dutch coach Louis van Gaal’s autocratic style often put him at odds with both superstars and fans. Public spats with Rivaldo led to the Ballon d’Or winner’s exit from Barcelona. At Bayern Munich, van Gaal clashed with captain Mark van Bommel, axing him for Luiz Gustavo, and had a notorious relationship with Lucio and Luca Toni. His tenure at Manchester United was marked by a stark method of criticism, impacting the likes of Memphis Depay. Angel Di Maria labeled him the worst coach and blamed him for his misfortunes at United. Van Gaal’s rigid nature and propensity for alienating key players, coupled with a lack of significant club achievements after United, place him at a high spot on this toxic coaching list.

2. Antonio Conte’s Combative Chapter.

Antonio Conte, hailed for rejuvenating Juventus and claiming a Premier League title with Chelsea, is nonetheless infamous for his confrontational disposition. Clashes over transfer policies at Juventus led to his abrupt departure. Despite a lucrative deal with Chelsea, Conte’s blunt style soon frayed nerves. Incidents like alienating Diego Costa, shattering tablets in fury, and feuding with board members marred his tenure. His stint with Inter Milan saw him end Juventus’s domination but depart over the club’s financial stance. An uncompromising maverick, Conte’s tenure at Tottenham Hotspur reinforced his reputation for fostering tumultuous relationships, ultimately leading to an early exit. The pattern of swift success followed by rapid fall-outs underscores Conte’s volatile tenure in club management.

1. Thomas Tuchel’s Toxic Traits.

As Mainz’s coach, Thomas Tuchel was viewed as a temperamental dictator. Disagreements over transfers led to his departure from Mainz, and at Borussia Dortmund, he fell out with the management, persistently clashing with the club’s higher-ups. Despite Tuchel’s successes, like leading Dortmund to discover talents such as Kagawa and Lewandowski, his confrontational nature troubled the locker room. His propensity for public outbursts with the press added to his controversial reputation. Tuchel’s tenure at PSG was cut short despite reaching the Champions League final, due to the same toxicity – he publicly criticized the club’s transfer policies. Chelsea welcomed Tuchel next, and while he was initially given more control, his negative views on transfers remained a sticking point. Publicly declaring Chelsea non-competitive after a preseason loss in 2022 and a year after winning the Champions League ultimately led to his dismissal on September 7th, 2022. Now at Bayern Munich, Tuchel’s fiery character continues to shape his coaching journey.