Football managers and head coaches are important people with different responsibilities. Some clubs have a head coach who focuses on the technical and tactical parts of the game and ensures the players are doing their best. In contrast, others have a manager who plays an important role in managing a club or national team. The diversity in titles and roles depends on each club’s unique approach to defining the responsibilities and focus of the leadership position. However, according to the club’s job description, managers may undertake some of the duties of coaches, and coaches may also be responsible for the duties of managers.
According to UEFA football coach Pedro Mendonca, the two positions are different in many ways.
“The main difference between a coach and a manager is that the head coach’s main focus is always on the team and developing the tactical and technical aspects of the game. The coach develops the training strategy and the work of the opponent’s game and is more focused on how to win the next match.” Pedro told Football Now.
“The manager focuses more on developing the team. Apart from the training aspect, he also improves the facilities, the scouting process and negotiation with the players. They have a broader role than the coach.” explains Pedro.
This distinction is crucial because the day-to-day roles of managers and head coaches can vary across Europe. For example, Florentino Perez, president of Spanish club Real Madrid, takes responsibility for transfer policies. In this way, the manager is relieved of some responsibilities and the coach can concentrate on tactics. In contrast, Manchester United’s legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson was responsible for overseeing all areas of the club’s management, including on-field strategies.
With age and experience, coaches naturally move into a managerial role and focus more on the overall organization of the club.
“All coaches start with training, like the head coach, and at the end of their career they become managers. Like Jose Mourinho, in the beginning he was responsible for warming up and doing the main parts. But later they became coaches. As he developed and got older, he started to delegate training matters more,” continues Pedro.
As a result of the move from coach to manager, duties that had previously focused solely on training were expanded to include control over transfers and negotiations, among other things.
Senior management can also feel the increasing financial pressures in today’s football. German club Red Bull Leipzig has undergone a similar leadership structure transformation, with successful managers moving into roles such as sporting director. This move allowed for the transfer of responsibilities and the introduction of new perspectives. This innovative tactical approach within the club has paved the way for sustainable success on the pitch.
“There were events that had a huge domino effect on football tactics in the club,” says German football expert Jasmin Baba. “The way football is played there is different. Many coaches have gone through the ‘Red Bull’ school of thought and play with the same parameters and philosophy,” he explains.
The ‘Red Bull’ school of thought is now known for its highly active pressing football. “They use very quick transitions. They go from defense to attack, from attack to defense. It’s a lot of fun,” Jasin adds.
The future of football leadership looks set to favor this collaborative and adaptable management style. Former Bristol Rovers interim manager Andy Mangan explains that such transformation goes hand in hand with contemporary football.
Andy said: “Football has changed. We now have a sports science department, nutritionists and analytics departments.” says.
There is no doubt that football is the most popular sport in the world and its face is changing. Many popular football clubs have now become big brands with a hierarchy that will ensure smoother operation.
Roles and positions have been expanded to include managers and directors, sports scientists, coaches and analysis teams, without forgetting the business side of the business, which looks at costs and revenue. Football leaders continue to adapt to these changes and innovate, influencing the future of the game.