Best and worst coaching returns after Ronald Koeman’s Southampton reunion
Coral’s top 10 best and worst coaching returns in football
After Ronald Koeman faced former side Southampton for the first time since switching sides to Everton last summer, Coral football writers consider how it went for other managers who returned to play their old clubs.
All eyes are usually glued to a prominent player when they revisit an old stomping ground with a new flame, but returns can be just as dramatic for those in the dugout.
So, as Koeman dusts himself off after his Toffees team limped to a loss against the Saints (9/1 to win the EFL Cup), here are 10 of the best and worst coaching returns in football…
Jurgen Klopp v Borussia Dortmund
The dust had barely settled on Jurgen Klopp’s emotional departure from Borussia Dortmund, where he had spent around seven successful seasons, before he was forced to mastermind BVB’s defeat in the Europa League.
Already verging on becoming a cult hero at Anfield, despite only just having taken over the Liverpool reins from Brendan Rodgers, Klopp took on the club he helped turn into a German juggernaut and won.
Reminding the famed Yellow Wall of just what they were missing, Klopp came back with a vital away goal from the Westfalenstadion in the first leg of a 2015/16 Europa quarter-final.
It is the return to Anfield that will go down in folklore, however, as the coach instigated an incredible Reds comeback from 3-1 down at half-time to go on to win 4-3 in a seven-goal thriller and reach the semis with a 5-4 aggregate success. Not bad.
Relive it here:
Jupp Heynckes v Real Madrid
Jupp Heynckes’ revenge on Real Madrid, who sacked the German gaffer in typical Los Blancos style just after he had won them the Champions League in 1998, was a dish best served cold.
Heynckes came back to haunt the Spanish football royalty in the semi-finals of the Champions League, back when they were desperately seeking La Decima under Jose Mourinho in 2012.
After two legs couldn’t separate the top sides, Bayern prevailed on penalties to leave the Bernabeu with a bitter taste from their old boss. What goes around…
Claudio Ranieri v Chelsea
It couldn’t have happened to a more likeable fella. Having been unceremoniously disposed of by Chelsea’s new loaded owner Roman Abramovich in favour of that man Mourinho in 2004, Italian tactician Claudio Ranieri delivered just desserts over a decade later.
As his inspired underdog Leicester City side claimed once again Mourinho-led Chelsea’s PL crown, with just a fraction of the Blues’ budget, Ranieri finally proved his point.
The Foxes twice turned Chelsea over in 2015/16 but it was the first 2-1 defeat at the King Power Stadium which spelled the end of Mourinho’s second stint at Stamford Bridge, with the Portuguese departing just three days later. Though, going on to steal the London club’s title was the biggest blow. Take a bow Ranieri.
Take a gander at the Foxes’ victory again:
Jose Mourinho v Chelsea
Speaking of ‘the Special One’, we couldn’t fail to include the two times thus far that Mourinho has played Chelsea as opposition boss.
Mourinho masterminded the Blues’ defeat in the Champions League over two quarter-finals on his treble-winning quest for Inter Milan, but that is old news and chip paper as Chelsea have had the last laugh (for now).
Having taken his Manchester United team to Stamford Bridge, what happened in October of this season left jaws agape. Pedro Rodriguez put the Blues ahead with the fastest PL goal ever before Antonio Conte’s revved up crew thrashed the Red Devils 4-0. It was definitely a return to remember – for the wrong reasons.
Pep Guardiola v Barcelona
It was a similar story for Mourinho’s fierce foe Guardiola, who reappeared at Barcelona’s Nou Camp in 2015 as the prodigal son with new club Bayern Munich.
Perhaps too ambitious for his own good after tinkering with an experimental formation, the Catalan coach was forced to watch his team be torn apart 3-0, which was actually a kind scoreline.
Guardiola managed to hit back in a 3-2 victory at the Allianz Arena, still crashing out of the CL on aggregate, but his first reunion with the club to whom he is so closely linked was already tainted.
See the Barca v Bayern goals again:
Pep Guardiola v Barcelona (again)
Yep, it is Pep again. But we really thought his second return to the Nou Camp deserved its own section.
Now with Manchester City, a side accused of being Barca light, Guardiola was again made to eat humble pie when taking the Sky Blues to Spain. Although far from poor on the night, this time a 4-0 scoreline was cruel on the Citizens as Lionel Messi and co ran riot.
Guardiola did somewhat overcome his old club curse, if not the Nou Camp one though, as Man City won the CL group return 3-1 on their own patch.
Sam Allardyce v Newcastle United
Marmite manager Sam Allardyce was binned by Newcastle United having barely been given a chance on Tyneside back in 2008, amid much disgruntlement over his style of play.
But Big Sam illustrated the benefits of direct football when he faced the Magpies on the opposite side of the Tyne-Wear derby though as Sunderland boss.
Allardyce oversaw a Black Cats success over their bitter rivals with a memorable 3-0 drubbing at the Stadium of Light. The Mackems also managed a point at St James’ Park in a season where they ensured Premier League survival and the Magpies were relegated. Ouch.
See those highlights:
Carlo Ancelotti v Juventus
Italian coach Carlo Ancelotti found himself unwanted by Juventus in 2001, but it wasn’t long until he found fresh employment at another northern Italian powerhouse, AC Milan.
There were four returns to Turin in the opposition dugout in his first season at AC, and Juve will have felt justified in cutting short his time at the Alpine club as the Old Lady went undefeated across all four meetings in Serie A and the Coppa Italia.
We’re sure the current Bayern boss won’t still have sleepless nights over it, however, as it was Juve left with the blushes as Ancelotti built one of the greatest, serial-trophy winning teams over at the San Siro.
David Moyes v Everton
Many eyebrows were raised as David Moyes succeeded fellow Scot Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United. A poor summer of transfers followed and the rest is history as Moyes failed to even last a full season in the hotseat.
A particularly painful blow was the manager’s loss to previous club Everton at Old Trafford, handing the Toffees their first PL triumph at the fortress in 20 years.
The unlucky Red Devils hit the woodwork several times before a late winner downed them, while Moyes was given a rough ride by travelling support displeased at the manner of his departure and Marouane Fellaini capture from Merseyside to Manchester.
In the Goodison Park Premier League return, Man Utd also lost 2-0 with that seemingly the final nail in the managerial coffin as Moyes was given the boot days later. Not a nice way to come full circle.
Watch Moyes’ reflection on the match:
Fabio Capello v AC Milan
Former England manager Fabio Capello really got around when in the Italian top-flight, leaving plenty of opportunities for riveting returns.
Capello’s final season coaching AC Milan ended in acrimony, as the expensive side finished 10th in Serie A. The tactician left his Rossoneri throne for the final time in 1998 but was soon snapped up by capital club Roma.
His first return to Milan yielded a four goal thriller and draw but set a benchmark, as Capello would go on to quiet critics, at least temporarily, by leading the Giallorossi to the title the next term.