8 of the Best Manager & Assistant Manager Duos

90min Staff
A picture taken on March 27, 2012 shows
A picture taken on March 27, 2012 shows / GIUSEPPE CACACE/GettyImages

It's an unwritten rule in football; behind every great manager is a trusted assistant who performs his specific duties so well, he allows the boss to get on with his responsibilities.

There have been many great manager and assistant duos over the years and here are eight of the greatest...

1. Brian Clough and Peter Taylor

Derby County v Chesterfield - FA Cup Fourth Round
Derby County v Chesterfield - FA Cup Fourth Round / Laurence Griffiths/GettyImages

Clough and Taylor took the reigns together at four different clubs; Hartlepool United, Derby County, Brighton & Hove Albion and Nottingham Forest, and although they are best remembered for clinching two consecutive European Cups at the latter, their success continued everywhere they went.

While Clough was the charismatic media man, who motivated players to achieve unimaginable heights, Taylor was the 'good cop', who protected those in the first team and was an unrivalled master of scouting hidden gems.

2. Jose Mourinho and Steve Clarke

Chelsea v Manchester United
Chelsea v Manchester United / Mike Hewitt/GettyImages

Mourinho has always kept a close entourage wherever he's gone in his career, with Silvino Louro, Andres Villas Boas and, most notably, head minion Rui Faria helping the Special One to achieve success in Portugal, England, Italy and Spain.

However, it was an unassuming Scot who proved to be the most effective Mourinho assistant, with Chelsea legend Steve Clarke becoming Mou's right hand man upon his arrival in the Premier League. The combination worked wonders and together the pair led the Blues to two consecutive league titles, an FA Cup and two League cups in just three seasons.

3. Jurgen Klopp and Zeljko Buvac


Affectionately known as 'The Brain', Buvac has been with Jurgen Klopp since their playing days together at Mainz 05. The pair were reunited on the sidelines at the same club in 2001 and have been inseparable ever since.

Often acknowledged with creating the high pressing, attacking style of football that Klopp sides adopt, Buvac has been at the German manager's side since their successful Borussia Dortmund era, which saw two Bundesliga titles come their way.

4. Arsene Wenger and Pat Rice

Arsenal Training Session
Arsenal Training Session / Dean Mouhtaropoulos/GettyImages

Wenger's current number two is a former player of his, Steve Bould, but the Frenchman surely reminisces to the time when another ex-Gunner was by his side, legendary right back Pat Rice.

The former Northern Ireland international became Wenger's assistant upon his arrival to Highbury in 1996 and the pair worked wonders together, securing two domestic doubles and inspiring their players to that famous unbeaten 2003/04 season. Rice stepped down in 2012, after a grand total of 44 years with the North London club.

5. Carlo Ancelotti and Zinedine Zidane


It lasted just one season, but what a glorious season it was. The combination of Carlo Ancelotti as manager and Zinedine Zidane as his assistant inspired Real Madrid to La Undecima, a record 10th Champions League win, as well as a dramatic Copa del Rey victory over rivals Barcelona.

Zidane would drop down to manage Los Blancos' B team, before taking over the top job a couple of years later, but he will surely attest his time with the magnanimous Italian as vital in his development as a top class manager. 

6. Harry Redknapp and Kevin Bond

Manager of Tottenham Hotspur Harry Redkn
Manager of Tottenham Hotspur Harry Redkn / IAN KINGTON/GettyImages

It might be a bit of a step down to go from Ancelotti and Zidane to Redknapp and Bond, but that should not undermine the incredibly successful relationship that the latter shared during their time together at Portsmouth and Tottenham Hotspur.

Redknapp is renowned for keeping the same colleagues around him wherever he manages and he made sure to bring the well travelled Bond with him to help transform Spurs into a top 4 side.

7. Pep Guardiola and Tito Vilanova

Rayo Vallecano v FC Barcelona  - Liga BBVA
Rayo Vallecano v FC Barcelona - Liga BBVA / Angel Martinez/GettyImages

Back to the big guns now and the pairing of Pep Guardiola and Tito Vilanova existed for four magical seasons at the Nou Camp, after the duo had worked together in the same capacity for the Barcelona B team.

Between 2008 and 2012, after which the late Vilonova took full charge of the team up until his tragic death, the Blaugrana enjoyed unprecedented success under the pair's tutelage; iwnning the treble in their first season and going on to clinch two more La Liga titles and another Champions League.

8. Alex Ferguson and Steve McClaren

Leicester v Man U x
Leicester v Man U x / Ross Kinnaird/GettyImages

Fergie had multiple assistants during his tenure as Manchester United boss, but none were more successful than Steve McClaren. A complete unknown when he arrived to replace Brian Kidd in 1999, the future England manager would compliment Sir Alex perfectly over the next three years.

Together, the pair won three consecutive Premier League titles, giving McClaren a 100% record as assistant, while their first season together saw the Red Devils win the treble. McClaren's tactical astuteness combined with Fergie's man management ensured United entered the new millennium as the one of the strongest clubs in the world.

This article is brought to you by the film CHIPS, in cinemas March 24.