Some huge names have been given the boot

Ten Hag next? 7 managers who were sacked straight after winning a trophy

Throwing the argument that silverware is all that matters straight out of the window, several top-level managers have been sacked straight after winning a trophy.

It’s a funny old thing, is the trophy debate. Some fans are willing to accept a few years of horrific football and a generally negative mood around the club if there’s a trophy at the end of it, but in an age of sustainable club models built around progressive styles of play, the ‘win by any means’ approach is a dying art.

That also means some managers have a shorter shelf life than usual. Winning a trophy isn’t quite as important as it once was and these seven managers felt the brunt of that, being dismissed despite guiding their team to glory.

Louis van Gaal

Outsiders will remember Van Gaal’s spell at Manchester United for the funny press conferences and the fact he signed off with the FA Cup in 2016 before being replaced by Jose Mourinho, but the trophy was, unfortunately, papering over cracks.

A respectable first season had its issues which bled into the second season, mostly involving a possession-based style of play which never involved any real attacking thrust and suffocated United fans to death with boredom at several points throughout his reign.

There was a notable period between November 2015 and January 2016 where United went six games without a win and Van Gaal was on the verge of leaving the club with the Red Devils looking hopeless on the pitch. From that point on, an FA Cup was never going to keep him in the job.

Maurizio Sarri

When Sarri is good, he’s brilliant. But wherever he goes, there always appears to be drama not too far behind. It’s no wonder the poor fella chews his way through 20 Marlboro Red every matchday.

Upon taking the Juventus job after leaving Chelsea in 2019, things always felt like a marriage of convenience, following in the footsteps of Max Allegri. A much more pronounced style of play and the club trying to adapt to their new manager meant that there were obvious teething problems.

Juve still won the Scudetto, just edging past Inter to secure their ninth consecutive league title, but after being knocked out of the Champions League in the last 16 by Lyon in August (due to delays as a result of the pandemic) Sarri was sacked just one year into a three-year deal.

Antonio Conte

Conte showed English football exactly what he was about in 2016-17 when his ruthless and pragmatic style guided Chelsea to the Premier League title in impressive fashion, a year after finishing tenth, even if it wasn’t the prettiest football the league had ever seen.

The wheels fell off considerably in his second season, though, and suddenly the uncompromising football became more difficult to stomach with Chelsea finishing fifth in 2017-18.

Despite their struggles to defend the title, Conte’s side did go all the way in the FA Cup, beating Manchester United in the final, but it ultimately wasn’t enough for him to keep his job and he was sacked afterwards, being replaced by Sarri.

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Vicente del Bosque

A Real Madrid legend as a player, Del Bosque became the club’s permanent manager when they replaced John Toshack in 1999 and guided the club through one of its most successful eras in the early 2000s, after a few earlier spells as caretaker manager in the mid-90s.

Del Bosque lifted the Champions League with Real in 2000 and 2002, the La Liga title in 2001 and 2003 and several other pieces of silverware, turning them into a consistent trophy-hauling side, all while making it look incredibly routine to manage a squad littered with superstar players which came with immense pressure.

It was incredibly bizarre, then, for the club to let his contract expire in 2003, one day after he’d won La Liga and one week after they’d signed David Beckham from Manchester United. In the years that followed, Real fell away from the top of the ladder and failed to win anything of note until 2007.

Fabio Capello

Having been sacked straight after winning the league title for Real in 1997, Capello couldn’t resist a second bite of the cherry 10 years later and took charge of Los Blancos for the 2006-07 campaign.

Yet again it was a marriage destined to end in tears despite Real’s ongoing trophy drought, with supporters not willing to get behind his defensive style and Capello not willing to compromise on it. He won La Liga in his first season back at the club, but did so having made enemies of Beckham, Ronaldo, Antonio Cassano and – ultimately – the fans.

He ended their trophy drought by winning La Liga, but was sacked shortly after, having also underperformed in the Champions League.

Sir Alex Ferguson coach of Manchester United talks to the media during a press conference

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Jupp Heynckes

Real replaced Capello with Heynckes in 1997, who had impressed since coming to Spain with Tenerife.

The German manager again fell to the same fate as the man he replaced, albeit in different circumstances. Heynckes led Los Blancos to European triumph, winning the Champions League for the club for the first time since 1966 by beating Juventus 1-0, but that wasn’t enough for him to keep his job due to domestic underperformance.

His side finished fourth in La Liga and failed to win the Copa Del Rey, which resulted in him being replaced after just a year in charge. It’s ruthless at the top.

Laurent Blanc

Replacing Carlo Ancelotti at Paris Saint-Germain in 2013, Blanc was key in establishing the club as a domestic titan in the 2010s following their Qatari takeover.

The Frenchman won three domestic trophies in his first season, notably Ligue 1, and retained the league title for the following two seasons. Despite that, the owners had grown frustrated at PSG’s failure to dominate in Europe by 2o16 and despite Blanc finishing the 2015-16 season with a domestic treble, he was let go.