GLEN JOHNSON: Former Liverpool, Chelsea and England full back Glen Johnson has played under some of the best managers the Premier League has ever seen, so we asked to get his take on the ones he thought were the best.
During my playing days, I was very fortunate in that I played under some of the best managers around. I wouldn’t have got to where I did without them as each one taught some really valuable things which helped me during my career. Each manager was important in one way or another, but here are the four that I really thought influenced my career.
When he came in at Chelsea, none of us really knew how to react to him. No one had ever come across a manager like Jose so it was a real learning curve for all of us. He was very quick to put his spin on the way we did things both on and off the pitch and he really put his stamp on the club. His methods were sometimes unique and he was fiery at points, but we all respected him and what he was trying to do.
He backed himself, but his record shows what a fantastic coach he was. I was very lucky in that I was still a young player learning my trade and he was brilliant at showing players like myself how we could improve. He was always saying how there was room for improvement and that we shouldn’t accept what we had, which I think is why his teams are so good. They never give up and fight till the end – both characteristics which are crucial to any successful side
One of the best managers in terms of setting up a team in a certain way. Rafa’s football wasn’t perhaps the best on the eye, but the way he set up a team was always done in order to give it the best chance of winning. He was tactically about as astute as they come and every player who played under him knew exactly what was required from them.
Team setup and organisation is so important in order for any team to be successful and Benitez was brilliant at making sure we did the jobs we were given to the best of our abilities. He kept saying that if we did that then we’d be a match for anyone.
He worked under Jose at Chelsea and even then you could see he had the perfect mind for management. He just loved learning new things about the game and how he could potentially incorporate those into what he wanted to do.
His training was very structured and efficient, but as you could see, it translated into real quality football on the pitch. We played some brilliant stuff during that 2013-14 campaign and it was just unfortunate that we couldn’t quite get it over the line. The football we played under Brendan deserved a title.
There was a lot written about Fabio and the way he went about things, but all I can say is I got on really well with him.
He struggled a bit at first with the language barrier, but there were only a few difficulties in meetings because on the pitch we all knew exactly what he was trying to say. It’s never easy managing a national side let alone England because you only get a short amount of time to work with the players before they go back to their clubs during the season. It’s a bit different in the lead-up to a major tournament, but there is still only so much time to get the squad playing as you want it to.
I thought he did a really good job and for whatever reason things just didn’t quite pan out as we wanted them to. I really enjoyed working with Fabio, though, and I learnt a lot from him.