Pellegrini's first season at the Etihad has been an instant success. With City in line for their second Premier League title in three years, the Chilean manager has brought an attractive offensive style of football while remembering to have a solid backline -- not to mention, a more stable and professional enviroment than the one Roberto Mancini operated in during his tenure. If City are to win the title, "The Engineer" will certainly receive much of the credit, and rightfully so.
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Brendan Rodgers (Liverpool)
Rodgers had a real shout at being manager of year, and if he wins the league (at time of this writing, it’s an open question) many will think he should get it. It’s a valid point: he has taken a young Liverpool side that was not expected to finish in the top four to within a sneeze of winning the league. He has done it playing a gorgeous, open style of football and managed to tamp down a summer of discontent. If the Reds finally win the Premier League again after so many years in the wilderness, a lot will be down to Rodgers’ brilliant man-management and sharp tactical nous.
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Roberto Martinez (Everton)
Everton have been the shock team of the year, overachieving thanks to a clever blend of fast-tempo passing, inspired loan signings, and the stable midfield play of Gareth Barry. Martinez deserves a lion’s share of the credit, polishing an adequate and unflashy squad into a threatening one that has the Goodison fans remembering the heady days of Howard Kendall. The names Martinez has helped make great – Stones, Barkley, McCarthy, Naismith -- are not household ones. But the Toffees are quickly becoming the talk of football.
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Mauricio Pochettino (Southampton)
Not too long ago, Southampton were a club on the brink. Today, it’s worth noting that a mid-table finish feels like a disappointment, such is the transformation Pochettino has affected here. The brash Argentine has not only made his team the one few clubs want to face, but made the Saints the defacto farm team for the English national side. Luke Shaw, Adam Lallana and Jay Rodriguez are all legitimate talents – Rodriguez would be in Brazil if not for an ACL injury – and they have all blossomed under Pochettino’s watch. If the Saints can fend off approaches for their top talents, they will remain a team to contend with for some years to come.
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Gus Poyet (Sunderland)
Sunderland’s 2-0 win against West Brom confirmed one of the greatest escape acts in Premier League history and ensured Gus Poyet achieved what he described as “the biggest achievement of my life.” When Poyet took over the reins the Black Cats had just one point from seven games, but he also faced a demoralized camp still reeling from the effects of Paolo di Canio’s stewardship. Every single pundit in the land had written Sunderland off as they prepared for three away games against Manchester City, Chelsea and Manchester United, but Poyet inspired his team to two wins and a draw in between a 4-0 victory against Cardiff. It was a remarkable feat and guaranteed Poyet’s place in Sunderland’s managerial folklore.
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Jose Mourinho (Chelsea)
Mourinho is about to finish his second straight season without a trophy. So what is he doing on this list? Simply put, Mourinho has managed to make Chelsea a threat again, blending a series of players others might consider over the hill, into a potent and tough team. Chelsea’s flaw is that they don’t have a striker, something Mourinho will move to address in the off-season; they also noticeably faded when Eden Hazard and Oscar came a cropper. But it’s difficult to argue against Mourinho: like Sir Alex Ferguson, he appears to be good for ten points a season, a pretty solid return on any manager.