The Premier League assistant managers: from Leicester to Man Utd and more

Matt Stead

Most teams are sensible enough to have one assistant manager. Man Utd and West Ham obviously have to be awkward. Southampton’s may not exist.


LEICESTER – Chris Davies
Joined from: Celtic
In: February 2019
Previous experience: Reading, Liverpool, Swansea
How he met the manager: As captain in the Reading youth set-up at a time when Rodgers was academy director.
What the manager has said
: “He is a magnificent coach and someone I know will make a hugely positive contribution. He is ready and prepared for the challenge. He has worked with me previously, he is someone I know and trust” – Brendan Rodgers.


LIVERPOOL – Pep Lijnders
Joined from: NEC
In: June 2018
Previous experience: Porto, PSV
How he met the manager: Lijnders was made first-team development coach at Liverpool in summer 2015, a matter of months before Klopp was appointed manager.
What the manager has said
: “It is hard to undersell the role Pep played in helping us settle, educating us about football life in England and then contributing ideas to the progress and development of this team. He has such a big football brain, but it’s his willingness to learn and absorb information and always look to improve and be better as a coach that makes him stand out” – Jurgen Klopp. He really does adore him.

Virgil Van Dijk speaking to Pep Lijnders


Joined from: Qingdao Huanghai
In: June 2020
Previous experience: He has been coaching since 1981 so yes.
How he met the manager: Guardiola had faced Lillo’s teams numerous times before instigating a meeting with the coach after Barcelona played Real Oviedo in 1998. Guardiola then trained with Lillo’s teams later in his career, finally playing under him briefly for Dorados ahead of his retirement.
What the manager has said
: “His knowledge. His intelligence. His humanity. The way that he prepares his sessions. We are quite similar in how we see football and how we understand the game. He is a friend. I don’t want someone who is just going to agree with everything. I need a guy to push me, to challenge me intellectually” – Pep Guardiola.


MAN UTD – Mitchell van der Gaag and Steve McClaren
Joined from: Ajax and Derby
In: May 2022
Previous experience: Seven clubs, including Belenenses; 10 teams, including Man Utd and England.
How they met the manager: Van der Gaag became a youth coach at Ajax in 2019; McClaren kept Ten Hag as assistant when he was appointed as Twente manager in summer 2008.
What the manager has said
: “They both know how to get success because they’ve both won titles, trophies in their careers, and that’s why they are here” – Erik ten Hag.


NEWCASTLE – Jason Tindall
Joined from: Bournemouth
In: Newcastle 2021
Previous experience: Bournemouth, Sheffield United, Burnley, Weymouth
How he met the manager: They were teammates together at Bournemouth for two years from 2004, then Tindall was appointed Howe’s Cherries assistant in 2008.
What the manager has said
: “I want his input, so we will regularly talk and discuss things. I wouldn’t want to change how we do that and we’ve always done the same thing. Jason is fair” – Eddie Howe.


Joined from: Swansea
In: September 2021
Previous experience: N/A
How he met the manager: Tate had been working in Swansea’s academy since 2016 before he was promoted upon Cooper’s appointment in 2019.
What the manager has said
: Not much at all. That selfish sod Cooper clearly doesn’t realise features like these need at least a couple of sentences of bluster.


SOUTHAMPTON – Richard Kitzbichler
Joined from: Beijing Guoan
In: August 2019
Previous experience: Red Bull Salzburg
How he met the manager: It’s not particularly clear but Kitzbichler was in the Red Bull system from 2009, seven years before Hasenhuttl.
What the manager has said
: Again, not much. Although Kitzbichler has thus far been spared in the ‘change within the coaching team in the Men’s First Team environment’ which saw Kelvin Davis, Dave Watson and Craig Fleming shown the door.


TOTTENHAM – Cristian Stellini
Joined from: Inter Milan
In: November 2021
Previous experience: Alessandria, Genoa Primavera, Juventus, Siena
How he met the manager: Stellini played under Conte at Bari during the 2008/09 season, then joined his coaching staff at Juventus in 2011.
What the manager has said
: Nothing. Conte’s been too busy making an honest man of Daniel Levy.


WEST HAM – Kevin Nolan, Paul Nevin and Billy McKinlay
Joined from: Notts County, England and Stoke
In: February 2020, February 2020 and July 2021
Previous experience: About 14 different posts combined, including England (Nevin) and Real Sociedad (McKinlay).
How they met the manager: In various fun and exciting ways. But mainly existing in the Premier League for ages and being Scottish.
What the manager has said
: “The progress so far at the club has been a real team effort and my staff, not just the coaches, have been a crucial part of that. We are looking to continue to build on what we have done so far and we will work to keep our levels high” – David Moyes.


WOLVES – Alex Silva
Joined from: Benfica
In: July 2021
Previous experience: Sporting Lisbon
How he met the manager: The pair worked together at Benfica, with Lage moving up to the U19s and Silva taking his role as U17 manager in summer 2006.
What the manager has said
: “In Benfica I worked with Luis [Nascimento, senior professional development coach] and Alex and I have a good relationship with them. Luis is my brother and Alex is my friend, so we’ve created a good dynamic between the three of us” – Bruno Lage.