Analysis: Every ISL Coach And What They Bring to Their Team This Season

Indian Super League
Indian Super League | ISL | Twitter

The 2020-21 edition of the Indian Super League (ISL) will take place behind closed doors in Goa, India, across three stadiums, namely Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Fatorda, the GMC Athletic Stadium in Bambolim, and the Tilak Maidan Stadium in Vasco.

Each team has been alloted a 'home stadium' based on their league standings from the previous season. The addition of newcomers SC East Bengal to the ISL will see them continue their 130-year rivalry with Mohun Bagan (now ATK Mohun Bagan) and a 'Kolata Derby' will be played in the ISL for the first time ever.

There are plenty of new faces as a number of new players have been signed and new managers have been appointed. Ahead of the season, we take a look at all the managers and what they bring to ISL Season 7.

ATK Mohun Bagan - Antonio Habas

Antonio Habas
Antonio Habas | Twitter

Antonio Lopez Habas will be in charge of ATK Mohun Bagan for the second season in a row.

He guided ATK to the play-offs for all the seasons he has been in charge until now, winning two (2014, 2019-2020) of the club's three titles. He also had a stint at FC Pune City (now Hyderabad FC) in the ISL when the club finished in the sixth position in 2016.

Habas was a defender who spent time at Sevilla, Real Murcia, and Atletico Madrid, before taking up coaching with Atletico's reserves. He is the only coach to have won two ISL titles, and he knows how to get the job done.

Bengaluru FC - Carles Cuadrat

Carles Cuadrat
Carles Cuadrat | Twitter

Carles Cuadrat will continue to be in charge of Bengaluru FC for the third season in a row.

Cuadrat assisted former manager Albert Roca for two seasons - 2016-17 in the I-League, and 2017-18 in the Blues' maiden ISL appearance. The Spaniard has led the Blues to one ISL title in 2018-19, but lost in the playoffs last season against eventual champions ATK.

Known to get his teams to utilise set-pieces and the man who turned Bengaluru into a defensive force, Cuadrat spent time at Barcelona earning his coaching badges, and was also a part of former Barca manager Frank Rijkaard's technical staff at Turkish giants Galatasaray.

Chennaiyin FC - Csaba Laszlo

Csaba Laszlo
Csaba Laszlo | Twitter

Csaba Laszlo replaces Owen Coyle at Chennaiyin FC this season.

The Hungarian has previously managed a host of teams, including the Ugandan National Team, the Lithuanian National Team, Dundee United and Hearts in the Scottish Championship, and a number of Hungarian outfits including Ferencvaros. He was also part of the Hungarian national team set up in 2004 where he served as an assistant manager to German legend Lothar Matthaus.

The former midfielder, who had to retire at just 27 due to a knee injury, will be hoping to galvanize his new team to a third ISL title while continuing to play an attractive brand of football.

East Bengal - Robbie Fowler

Robbie Fowler
Robbie Fowler | Jono Searle/Getty Images

Liverpool legend Robbie Fowler is all set to lead East Bengal in their maiden ISL season.

The former England international, who was known for being a natural scorer with an instinctive goal-poaching ability, was appointed as East Bengal head coach last month. Fowler last managed A-League side Brisbane Roar FC in Australia, helping them finish fourth and making it to the Finals Series of the competition.

During an illustrious career, Fowler has played for a number of clubs, including Liverpool, Leeds United, Manchester City, Cardiff City, and Blackburn Rovers, among others. He was appointed player-manager by Thailand’s top division side Muangthong United in the middle of the 2011-12 season where he guided the team to a third-place finish.

FC Goa - Juan Ferrando

Juan Ferrando
Juan Ferrando | EuroFootball/Getty Images

FC Goa appointed Juan Ferrando to take over from Sergio Lobera after firing the latter back in February.

39-year-old Ferrando began his career as a coach at Spanish club CE Premier in 2009. He later managed the youth side of LaLiga club Malaga and was also a part of their coaching staff during the 2012-13 season. His last stint was with Greek side Volos, whom he managed to consecutively promote to the 2nd and 1st Divisions in the following two years.

A lot will be expected from Ferrando who belongs to the Catalan school of thought as far as his footballing philosophy goes and he will be looking to follow in the footsteps of his compatriot in setting the side up to play entertaining and attractive football.

Hyderabad FC - Manuel Marquez Roca

Manolo Marquez
Manuel Marquez Roca | Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Hyderabad FC replaced Albert Roca with his compatriot Manuel Marquez Roca as the club’s new head coach.

Marquez coached a number of Spanish sides including RCD Espanyol’s reserves and was there at the club for a season. During the 2016-17 season, he was appointed as the coach of LaLiga side Las Palmas’ reserves team and after a season he was promoted as the head coach of the main team in LaLiga.

Marquez replaces Roca who left to join Barcelona as their new fitness coach under new boss Ronald Koeman.

Jamshedpur FC - Owen Coyle

Owen Coyle
Owen Coyle | Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Owen Coyle was let go by Chennaiyian FC but the former Burnley boss was quickly snapped up by Jamshedpur FC for this season's ISL.

Coyle succeeded in getting Burnley promoted to the Premier League in 2009, which was his biggest coaching achievement in England. He also managed Bolton Wanderers, Wigan Athletic, Blackburn Rovers, and Ross County, among other teams.

The 54-year-old enjoyed a brilliant stint with Chennaiyin FC last season, helping them to the ISL runners up spot last season after a tumultuous start to their campaign.

Kerala Blasters - Kibu Vicuna

Kibu Vicuna
Kibu Vicuna | Twitter

Kibu Vicuna led Mohun Bagan to an I-League title last season, and was appointed as the head coach of Kerala Blasters this season.

Vicuna takes over the reins of the team from former head coach Eelco Schattorie, who helmed the team in Hero ISL 2019-20 which was cut short due to the Covid-19 outbreak. The 48-year-old started his managerial career as a youth coach at LaLiga club Osasuna, and was instrumental in moulding current Chelsea superstar and Spanish international Cesar Azpilicueta, who was in the club's youth system back then.

The UEFA Pro License holder will be looking to help Kerala turn a corner and make an impact on this season's ISL.

Mumbai City FC - Sergio Lobera

Sergio Lobera
Sergio Lobera | Twitter

After parting ways with FC Goa at the end of last season, Sergio Lobera will lead Mumbai City FC in the ISL this term.

The Spaniard managed Barcelona's youth academy between 1999 and 2007 and began his senior managerial career with Terrassa in 2009 and went on to assist late Tito Vilanova at Barcelona's first team for a month before being appointed head coach of Las Palmas in 2012.

In the ISL, Lobera failed to win the coveted trophy but led the Gaurs to the 2019 Indian Super Cup and played a huge role in guiding Goa to the top of the table last season to win the maiden ISL League Winners Shield.

NorthEast United - Gerard Nus

Gerard Nus
Gerard Nus | Twitter

35-year-old Gerard Nus will take on the mantle at NorthEast United this season.

Nus has managed a number of teams, including Liverpool and Brighton in the Premier League, Melbourne Heart in the A-League, and the Ghana National Team, among others. He also worked as the technical director at Rayo Vallecano and was appointed manager of Swedish club Eskilstuna during the 2018-19 season.

The Spaniard has worked with legends like Rafa Benitez, Gus Poyet, and Avam Grant, and will be hoping to use their influence on his career during his time with NorthEast United.

Odisha FC - Stuart Baxter

Stuart Baxter
Stuart Baxter | Gallo Images/Getty Images

Odisha FC have roped in Stuart Baxter to take over as head coach for this ISL season.

The 67-year-old Brit played professionally for a number of clubs in England, Scotland, Australia, Sweden, and in the United States. He has previously managed clubs in Sweden, Norway, Portugal, Japan, and South Africa. Additionally, he managed the South African National Team twice as well as Finland and the England under-19 team.

Baxter, who has vast managerial experience in eight different countries, will head to India for the first time in his career. He has a reputation for winning silverware with his teams and also led South Africa to the quarterfinals of the 2019 African Cup of Nations.