2016-17 Season Preview: The Coaches

There has been a lot of excitement and anticipation surrounding the Premier League this summer as some of the best Coaches in world football prepare to compete against each other in what is undoubtedly the greatest assortment of managers in a single League that we have ever seen. Yet it is impossible to ignore La Liga in terms of the trainers that it will boast in 2016-17.

The majority of the attention will once again be on the Coaches of the top-three teams in the League. Luis Enrique will be under immense pressure at Barcelona to at least equal the successes of last season, while Diego Simeone prepares to topple the two teams that contest El Clasico and bounce back from another defeat in a Champions League final with Atletico Madrid. It’s going to be very interesting, though, to see how Zinedine Zidane fares in his first full campaign with Real Madrid. If the Frenchman struggles to maintain the previous campaign’s triumphs and the going gets tough, how will trigger-happy President Florentino Perez react?

As well as Zidane, Eusebio Sacristan, Pako Ayestaran and Quique Setien are looking forward to their first full seasons in charge of Real Sociedad, Valencia and Las Palmas respectively. All three improved the situations at their clubs after taking over, particularly Setien, so the pressure will be on them to at least maintain the performances from last time out. 

There are plenty of new faces as well, and Jorge Sampaoli has a huge task on his hands taking over the reins from Unai Emery at Sevilla. The former Chile Coach will be looking to implement his Marcelo Bielsa-inspired style of play as quickly as possible, which should lead to some very entertaining football matches, even if it will take time for him to settle. 

Another similarly gung-ho Coach has been appointed in Andalusia as Paco Jemez attempts to take Granada up the table under their new owners. There has been a major overhaul at the club, however, so this campaign could be another difficult one. 

Gus Poyet is looking to prove himself as a Coach with Real Betis after varying degrees of success in England, and with lots of reinforcements coming in, he will be expected to get off to a decent start. There has also been a lot of transfer activity at Malaga and Espanyol, where experienced La Liga trainers Juande Ramos and Quique Sanchez Flores are returning to the country after spells at various clubs around Europe. 

All of these Coaches have had a full pre-season to prepare for the new term, but the same cannot be said of Fran Escriba after well and truly being thrown in at the deep end at Villarreal. Marcelino’s shock dismissal means that Escriba goes from being sacked with relegated Getafe to coaching a Champions League club, and he only has a couple of weeks to get ready, making him one to keep an eye on.   

La Liga is known for the quality of football it produces, but that ultimately comes down to the calibre of its Coaches, so be sure to follow the men in charge throughout the coming season.