As the fifth season of the Indian Super League (ISL) is calling, briefly introduces all the teams’ men in charge…
ATK – Steve Coppell
After taking Kerala Blasters all the way to the finals of the 2016 edition where they lost to ATK on penalties, Coppell took charge of new entrants Jamshedpur FC in 2017-18 and led them to the fifth place on the table in their inaugural season. The English coach is known for his defence-first approach and his teams are often built around a strong backline. Under Coppell, Jamshedpur FC had the best defence in the league stage of ISL last season whereas ATK leaked 30 goals, the second-highest tally in the league. The 63-year-old has a wealth of experience under his belt, including stints at Reading, Manchester City and Crystal Palace.
Bengaluru FC – Carles Cuadrat
Carles Cuadrat replaces fellow Spaniard Albert Roca at the club, who bid goodbye to the Blues at the end of the 2017-18 season. Cuadrat had joined Bengaluru FC along in the capacity of an assistant manager with Roca in 2016. The Spaniard has now been promoted by Bengaluru FC as their head coach.
Chennaiyin FC – John Gregory
The 64-year-old took over from Marco Materazzi who, during his three-year spell in charge of the Super Machans, led the club to the title in 2015. In his first year at the club, Gregory masterminded Chennaiyin FC’s second ISL triumph last season. Before Chennaiyin, Gregory last managed Crawley Town before stepping down in 2014, citing health issues. The former England international managed Aston Villa in the Premier League between 1998 and 2002.
Delhi Dynamos – Josep Gombau
The Spaniard was last in charge of A-League side Western Sydney Wanderers where he was let go after the club failed to qualify for the 2017-18 Finals Series. He has, however, won silverware with Adelaide United and Hong Kong’s Kitchee SC. The 42-year-old started out his coaching career in Spain with Catalonian club Amposta before becoming a youth coach at Espanyol and subsequently Barcelona. He is known for favouring a possession-based system.
FC Goa – Sergio Lobera
Sergio Lobera’s exit from Moroccan side Moghreb Tetouan eventually resulted in him taking over FC Goa on a two-year contract. In his first year at the club, the Spaniard restructured the side with an influx of Spanish players and finished the season as semi-finalists where they lost against eventual champions Chennaiyin FC. With his attacking style of play, the Gaurs scored a mammoth 42 goals in 18 games in the league stage. Lobera worked for Barcelona’s youth academy for eight years between 1999 and 2007 and also worked as an assistant coach at Barcelona for a month alongside late Tito Vilanova.
Jamshedpur FC – Cesar Ferrando Jimenez
The 59-year-old takes over from Steve Coppell who has opted to join Kolkata-based outfit ATK. Ferrando’s most notable stint was with La Liga giants Atletico Madrid in the 2003-04 season where they finished 11th in the league and reached the semifinals of the prestigious Copa del Rey. Besides managing other famous Spanish clubs like Elche and the reserve side of Valencia, the Spaniard was in charge of Malaysian giants Johor Darul Ta’zim and managed the side in the Malaysian Super League 2014 season.
Kerala Blasters – David James
The former Liverpool custodian, who is set to continue as the head coach of the Kerala-based club until 2021, had taken over after Rene Meulensteen was sacked midway through the last season. Under James, Blasters ended the season in the sixth position on the table with 25 points. David James served as a player-manager at Kerala Blasters in the first season of Indian Super League and helped his team reach the final of the competition.
Mumbai City FC – Jorge Costa
The former Portuguese international succeeds Alexandre Guimaraes in the Islanders’ hot seat. Costa was last in charge of Tours FC in Ligue 2, the second tier of French football, during the 2017-18 season. He has coached several Portuguese clubs including Sporting Braga, Pacos Ferreira and Arouca FC and has also been in charge of Romanian outfit CFR Cluj. This is the former FC Porto defender’s first managerial stint in Asia after his time with the Gabon national team between 2014 and 2016.
NorthEast United – Eelco Schattorie
The Dutch coach had his last stint in India with East Bengal back in 2014-15 season when they finished fourth in the I-League table. He has previously coached fellow Kolkatan outfit United SC. His last job was with Saudi Arabian club Ettifaq FC where he helped them avoid relegation after filling in as a caretaker manager. The 46-year-old assisted Avram Grant last season when NorthEast finished at the bottom of the league table with a meagre 11 points from 18 matches.
FC Pune City – Miguel Angel Portugal
The former Real Madrid Castilla, Cordoba and Racing Santander coach replaces Marcos Paqueta who left the club without managing a single game. Portugal is a familiar name in the Indian domestic circuit as he was in charge of Delhi Dynamos for 2017/18 ISL season. After a disappointing season with the Dynamos, he left for Spain to join Spanish second-division club Granada CF. He has also managed in Bolivia (Club Bolivar) and Brazil (Atletico Paranaense). A former La Liga winner (1980) with Real Madrid, Portugal has served as the Technical Director of the Los Blancos.