Forget Pep and Klopp – 3 gaffers who deserve the manager of the year award this season including Wolves and Newcastle bosses

EPL opinion: 3 underrated nominees for the manager of the year award

It’s the business end of the season now with 9 games left to play and the race to the title as well as the fight for survival is at its absolute peak. Big names like Jose Mourinho and Claudio Ranieri have faced the sack during the course of the season but a few others have helped their club reach new heights.

The likes of Pep Guardiola, Jurgen Klopp and Mauricio Pochettino are the obvious contenders for the manager of the year award and new Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solksjaer could also be one of the names in the bag, but here are 3 managers who deserve the award a bit more than the obvious names.

Nuno Espirito Santo

What a season it has been for Wolverhampton Wanderers so far. Nuno Espirito Santo, in some ways, has overachieved this campaign as they currently sit at 7th place.

Wolves have been a dangerous side this season, especially against the big teams, having picked up points against each of the Premier League’s top 6.

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Only 4 teams (Nottingham Forest, Newcastle United, Ipswich Town and Blackburn Rovers) have finished higher than 7th in the Premier League immediately after promotion and Wolves have their sights set on qualifying for the Europa League next season.

Santo deserves a ton of credit for leading this Wolves side to where they are and deserves to be in the running for the award at the end of the season.

Javi Gracia

The Spaniard has been a breath of fresh air at Vicarage Road since his appointment in January 2018. After a dismal 14th-place finish last season, not much was expected of the Hornets this season but Gracia seems to have had different ideas.

The Spaniard has changed Watford’s style of play and the Hornets look a lot more comfortable in front of goal.

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Currently level on points with 7th-placed Wolves (at the time of writing), Gracia has the Europa League in his sights and a strong end to the season will help them leapfrog Nuno Espirito Santo’s side.

Gracia’s influence on this Watford team has been massive and he should be up there with the bigger names for the award.

Rafa Benitez

If anybody deserves a manager of the year award, it’s Rafael Benitez. The former Liverpool boss has worked wonders at the club under a terribly unsupportive owner. Benitez’s Newcastle are currently at 14th place and look to have avoided the scare of relegation this season.

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The only bit of support that Rafa Benitez has received was Mike Ashley’s investment in the summer to sign Miguel Almiron.

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The Paraguayan’s arrival saw Newcastle break their transfer record that stood for almost 15 years. Benitez has been Newcastle’s biggest asset over the past two years and he deserves the same recognition for his achievements as the likes of Guardiola and Klopp.

Written by Shamanth Jayaram

24-year old Electrical engineer turned football writer, born and brought up in Bangalore.

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