Neil Warnock Ranks His Top Five Premier League Managers of All Time – And it’s Weird

Former Cardiff and Crystal Palace manager ​Neil Warnock has named his top five Premier League managers of all time, and it’s fair to say he’s got some controversial – shock – opinions.

During his time in management, Warnock has come up against the very best. Most recently he took charge of Cardiff in 2016 and helped them win promotion to the Premier League, having previously enjoyed top flight success with Sheffield United – whom he also guided to the promised land.

But he was unable to stave off relegation with Cardiff last season and after an indifferent start to the Bluebirds’ Championship campaign, he left the club my mutual consent.

So, with time on his hands, Warnock has revealed to talkSPORT who he considers to be the top five Premier League managers of all time – and they’re probably not in the order you may think they are.

Let’s take a look at what he had to say…

5. Jose Mourinho


Number five on Lord Neil’s (he’s not really a Lord) list is a rather special pick, with current

Tottenham Hotspur boss Jose Mourinho first up.

The ‘Special One’ has seen it all, done it all, won it all and told us about it all endless amounts of times, but that’s part of the charm isn’t it with José? 

In any event, Warnock said of the Portuguese: “Jose Mourinho is close. What I like about him is the way he deals with the media at the most difficult times, but I would still put him number five.”

Three Premier League titles with Chelsea, a stint trying to improve a severely wounded Manchester United and a potentially spellbinding spell at Tottenham (to be continued) is a pretty impressive resumé by anyone’s standards – but who’s better?

4. Sir Alex Ferguson

Man Utd v Swansea

Well, Sir Alex Ferguson, of course. But the issue here is that Sir Alex appears to be popping up at number four on Neil’s list, rather than number one?

Baffling to say the least.

Explaining his slightly unusual decision, Warnock remarked: “Fourth, I would probably go with Sir Alex [Ferguson] just in front of Jose Mourinho, because he has done it for longer.

“I just think he was in an era where it was all about man management – it wasn’t down to all the backroom staff – and Sir Alex was probably the best at that.”

So just for the record, 13 Premier League trophies and the prestigious place on top of ​90min‘s 50 Greatest Managers of All Time list don’t appear to warm Neil’s cockles – I wonder who deserves it more?

3. Jurgen Klopp

Jürgen Klopp

Fair dos, Jurgen Klopp is doing a pretty sensational job at Liverpool.

They are Champions of Europe, somehow finished second last season after accumulating 97 points and are unbeaten this season.

So there’s understandable ​pedigree there. But isn’t three a bit high, Neil? Considering the title is not officially (we know it is, really) under his belt? Here’s his rationale.

“I would put Klopp third because I think he’s just beginning and he will get even better. But his outlook and everything he has done at the club and the future with the kids – I think he has got another ten years coming forward.”

“So I think he’s third at the minute but could easily be number one in a couple of years.”

2. Pep Guardiola 

Pep Guardiola

Manchester City under Pep Guardiola may be the greatest footballing entity we’ve ever had the pleasure of laying our eyes on – for English audiences at least.

Yes, United had the longevity under Sir Alex, but there’s no arguing that the City team of the past two seasons may be the greatest Premier League side ever assembled. 198 points over two seasons – broken down into the first ever 100 point campaign and 98 point follow-up – is a simply staggering record…..though, remarkably, Liverpool will probably have broken it once the 2019/20 season is out.

So it’s no surprise, perhaps, that Warnock sees Pep as one of the greats – stating: “I saw his teams first hand last year and I’ve never seen a team with that kind of movement. David Silva is the best player I’ve ever seen in the Premier League and I think Pep’s just taken it all on board. He’s had a few years so he’s been in front of a few, but I think he’s just amazing.

“His influence on the parks and the lower down leagues has been fantastic, so I’d put Pep second.”

1. Arsene Wenger


So who is Neil’s number one choice?

It’s Rebekah V……, no it’s not – it’s Arsene Wenger.

Yes, the man who revolutionised football in north London and went the whole 2003/04 season unbeaten with ​Arsenal, becoming truly ‘Invincible’. Not only that, the Frenchman was at the forefront of some of the Premier League’s greatest managerial rivalries – going bitterly head-to-head with Sir Alex Ferguson and José Mourinho more times than I’ve had hot dinners.

So what words did Warnock use to describe him? These ones: “I would pick Arsene Wenger as the number one because he changed the whole outlook on modern footballers,” Warnock stated.

“He brought so many things in that had never been thought of. The nutritionist, the fitness guys, video, technology. He changed the whole course of it when he came into the Premier League.”

Fair enough, Neil.


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