An FM 2016 Experiment Where Managers of Top 25 Clubs in Europe Are Removed | What Happens With Jose Mourinho?
With the official confirmation of the sacking of Jose Mourinho from Chelsea FC and the increasingly amount of rumours surrounding the future of Josep Guardiolas managerial tenure at FC Bayern Munich coming to an end, as well as rumours about other managers who are on the verge of being sacked or swooped up by other clubs, such as Real Madrids manager Rafa Benitez, Man Utds manager Louis van Gaal or Unai Emery who is wanted by Swansea, there might be a merry-go-round in the footballing world ahead of the UEFA European Championship 2016 next summer. While the destiny of Jose Mourinho as manager of Chelsea FC is definitely certain, there are doubts concerning the position of the clubs head coaches for a number of the best football managers at some of the biggest clubs in Europe.
For football journalists as well as the general sports idiots, doubts and rumours are something we thrive upon and gives us all something to talk about and discuss with our fellow companions and friends. Nothing is as exciting to think about what could happen if specific situations within the footballing world would occur. What would happen if Lionel Messi made an agreement to transfer to Manchester City or Cristiano Ronaldo went the wrong way – to FC Barcelona? While these could be experiments of their own, we will today look at the top managers of Football Manager 2016.
When Jose Mourinho and Chelsea FC parted company by mutual consent the 17th of December 2015, the discussions about who would take up the role as the new manager of Chelsea FC was raised by the media. My personal interest was what will happen to the managerial career of Jose Mourinho? Who will dare to hire him after the recent events where he not only got the media against him, but also attacked his own players performances and generally showed poor levels of squad management abilities. Never have a club declined as much in the 137 year long history of the Football League; champions one season and 1 point from relegation halfway into the other, picking up 1 point per match compared to 2.29 points last season, according to football analyst and expert Bill Edgar’s latest article featured in The Times.
Since Sports Interactive and their founders put so much emphasize on and promoting Football Manager 2016 and its database of players and staff as one of the most realistic football managing games I thought it would be interesting to find out what would happen in the footballing world of Football Manager 2016 if all the managers of the top 25 clubs were sacked. Which clubs would appoint whom and what would these managers achieve in the first season as the new manager. In order to analyze the realism of Football Manager 2016 ahead of the coming weeks and months potential manager movements and managerial position changes, we might experience as soon as one head starts to roll – subsequently with one clubs appointment of the out-of-favour, but still highly respected and one of the most successful managers in the history of football, Portuguese manager legend Jose Mourinho.
The Football Manager 2016 experiement ‘Jose Mourinho & The Managers Merry-Go-Round’ removes and makes the manager of 25 selected top clubs of Europe unappointed and free to be hired. Clubs selected for this Football Manager 2016 experiment, and have seen their manager released, are; FC Bayern Munich, FC Barcelona, Real Madrid, Manchester United, Chelsea FC, Manchester City, Atlético Madrid, Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain, Arsenal FC, Sevilla, Liverpool, Internazionale, Borussia Dortmund, Napoli, AC Milan, Roma, FC Porto, AS Monaco, Tottenham Hotspur, SL Benfica, Bayer Leverkusen, Zenit, AFC Fiorentina. This means that Josep Guardiola, Luis Enrique, Rafa Benitez, Louis van Gaal, Jose Mourinho, Manuel Pellegrini, Diego Simeone, Laurent Blanc, Arsene Wenger, Unai Emery, Jürgen Klopp, Roberto Mancini, Thomas Tuchel, Maurizio Sarri, Siniša Mihajlović, Rudi García, Julen Lopetegui, Leonardo Jardim, Mauricio Pochettino, Rui Vitória, Roger Schmidt, André Villas-Boas and Paulo Sousa are jobless and doesn’t want to take up managerial position of their former clubs.
I have also removed some conditions for some managers who does not manage in a specific league or nation. This means that conditions where a manager doesn’t want to be a manager in a specific club is not touched.
Other conditions set are:
- Active leagues: Belgium, England, France, Germany, Holland, Italy, Portugal, Russia, Spain and Ukraine. Top 2 divisions is selected for all leagues except England where I’ve added Sky Bet League 1 where I will manage Barnsley.
- Pre-season start date is set to early England (01.07.2015) and saves will be holidayed until 22th of May.
- Released Managers won’t take up managerial position for their former club (current real life managing position except Jose Mourinho)
The Top 5 Focusing Areas of The Football Manager 2016 Manager Experiment will be:
- Which managers will be appointed where? What are the different odds?
- What are the odds of Josep Guardiola to be appointed as Manchester City manager and which clubs wants the managerial abilities of Jose Mourinho?
- How will the different managers perform for their new clubs?
About the Tests (Test 1 & Test 2)
In order to get an solid indication of the possibilities and odds I’ve run this custom database 8 times for one season each. I managed to make one mistake in the first test run (of 8 saves) setting the preference that Josep Guardiola ‘Wants to be manager of Bayern’ rather than ‘Doesn’t want to be’.
This means that I have holidayed a save 16 times; 8 times with the preference of Guardiola to become a Bayern manager and 8 saves without. I regard the second test run as the most valid.
As you will see below, there were some interesting facts about the performance of the managers – no matter if they were manager of Bayern, Man Utd, Liverpool or Paris SG – and no matter which test run we look at.
The results and my analysis of the Football Manager 2016 Manager Merry-Go-Round experiment is detailed below.
Results From the Football Manager 2016 Experiment Jose Mourinho & The Managers Merry-Go-Round
Despite Guus Hiddink has been appointed as caretaker for Chelsea until the season of 2015-2016 ends, the big question surrounding in the media is who will take charge of Chelsea for 2016-2017 season. One likely candidate according to the Football Manager 2016 database and my test it seems Josep Guardiola most likely will become the new Chelsea manager. 8 of 8 times, Chelsea offered Josep Guardiola a contract early on – in the first days of the season. What’s more interesting is that the Spanish manager were sacked 80% of the time. In one event he managed to have a point ratio of 2.14 points per match. The average point ratio were 1.957 points per match. If we should compare the point ratio to the first test run where Josep Guardiola extended his Bayern contract, his point ratio per match were 2.18 in average. But what is more interesting is that the goals per match ratio seems almost identical; 1.62 (Chelsea) versus 1.8 (Bayern).
The goal ratio of second test run were 1.6 goals per match – one of the lowest of the top 9 managers who frequently got a job for the top 10 clubs of Football Manager 2016. Here we must take into account that this result is highly influenced by the short spell as Chelsea manager as he got sacked after 27 matches (test 5).
His highest win ratio were 65%, 1,67 points below the win ratio he achieved managing Barcelona B, but far below the current win ratio at Bayern. At average his win ratio were approximately 56%. This could perhaps be explained by the difference of squad depth of the two clubs and the difference in league competition, where the English Premier League is slightly more even.
Jose Mourinho on the other hand took up the position as Manchester City manager 8 out of 8 times. As Manchester City manager Jose Mourinho led the club to top 2 positions at all test runs. His best achievement came in the second test run where he recorded a highly promising 77% win ratio, achieving a point ratio of 2.42 points per match. His average point ratio were 2.28 points per match and a goal ratio of 2.03 goals per match. His lowest win ratio were 66% – 1 point behind his first spell at Chelsea (2004-2007).
If I should compare the first run of test where I made the previous mention mistake and the second more valid test, it’s highly interesting to see almost identical point ratio and goal ratio.
- Point Ratio: 2.23 (test 1) vs 2.28 (test 2)
- Goal Ratio: 2.09 (test 1) vs 2.03 (test 2)
While Josep Guardiola struggled in all competitions, Jose Mourinho managed to win the double at one point – both winning the Premier League and the FA Cup. It seems there is a 100% chance that he is awarded as manager of the year as long as he wins the Barclays Premier League.
Perhaps you now wonder who would become the new Bayern Munich manager if Josep Guardiola left. According to Football Manager 2016 it seems Diego Simone would be one of the favorites for the Bavarian head coach position. Diego Simeone seems like a perfect fit for the Bavarian DNA playing a modern variant of the traditional 4-4-2 formation – something that suits Robben and Ribery more.
According to my experiment, Diego Simeone had some of the best results, managing Bayern to the Bundesliga trophy 8 of 8 times. In the first test run where Guardiola still was a Bayern manager, the Argentinian manager were appointed as Paris Saint-German manager 5 of 8 times. The 3 other times he was appointed as Chelsea manager.
Diego Simeone seems to be the best manager of FM16, at least according to my tests. He achieved an average win ratio of amazingly 78.5%, but recorded as high as 83% in one save. He achieved an overall point ratio of 2.47 at Bayern, almost similar if he managed Paris Saint-Germain.
With over 2.41 goals per match Diego Simeone were one of the managers who managed the squad to constantly score the most goals – around 122 scored goals in a season. Here you may argue that the amount of goals will automatically be higher when he managed to lead the club to Champions League final time after time, but it may also prove the big difference between the players’ abilities of Bayern compared to the overall standard of Bundesliga.
While Diego Simeone led Bayern to success after success in Germany, a bit surprisingly you may say, Unai Emery did the same in Spain. He was appointed as Real Madrid manager 16 of 16 times. In the main test (2) the club won La Liga 7 of 8 times achieving around 90 points each season.
Despite Unai Emery could be considered as a rather young manager, but highly promising one, there is a big difference between real life statistics and the records he achieved at Real Madrid in FM 2016. Rather similar to Diego Simeone, Unai Emery recorded a point ratio of 2.45 points per match and an average win ratio of 77%.
Unai Emery’s goal ratio were rather high compared to my expectations. He recorded a 2.30 goals per match ratio which makes me think he played rather attacking football compared to Carlo Ancelotti who only managed to lead his club to score 1.81 goals per match. Now you may ask which clubs who wanted Carlettos long time managerial experience and professionalism. Since Chelsea and Bayern went for the former two, Manchester United took the chance to appoint Ancelotti. Heavy spendings, especially in save 8, managed the Red Devils to win the Barclays Premier League 3 points ahead of Manchester City.
Apart from this great achievement, Carlo Ancelotti’s records of test run one differed slightly from when he took charge of Manchester United in test run 2. In test run 1 he led Manchester United 4 out of 8 times leading the club to 4th position at best. There it was a 50-50 chance of him joining Chelsea too.
What’s a bit awkward is that his point ratio were 1.95 in test run 1 compared to 2.11 in test run 2. almost identical goal scoring ratio is a bit odd too; 1.75 versus 1.81 in the last more valid test run.
So what happened to Barcelona and Luis Enrique, Arsenal and Arsene Wenger or Liverpool and Jürgen Klopp?
With Luis Enrique released from his duties at FC Barcelona, the Barca board spend abit longer time finding a great option, but once they did Juande Ramos were often offered a contract. 6 of 8 times in test run 2 he was appointed as manager of FC Barcelona and lead the club to 2nd position. Luis Enrique on the other hand was one of the favorites for the AC. Milan position, but were oftenly fired due to lower league position than expected.
For the Arsenal position it was quite open. Sometimes Jurgen Klopp were hired, other times Roberto Mancini were hired. Rudi Garcia seemed to be a manager who was rather adaptable, managing both Arsenal, Barcelona and Liverpool. Despite his long experience, it seemed Arsene Wenger were out of favour or took a sabbatical like Josep Guardiola. When he was offered a contract it was often because one manager was sacked at a mid-table club, like Everton in test 7.
Liverpool hired Louis van Gaal 5 of 8 times. He recorded a 54% win ratio in average – slightly above his current 50.70% win ratio at Manchester United. van Gaal managed to grab 1.85 points per match in average in test run 2 compared to 1.77 in test run 1. The goal scoring ratio was again almost identical 1.71 (1) versus 1.74 (2).
While Lucien Favre were the favorite for the Borussia Dortmund position 8 of 8 times, Tuchel was out of favour and were only trusted a position for minor German clubs like Bremen if their current manager were sacked in the middle of the season. Laurent Blanc was hired by Juventus 5 of 8 times and steared The Old Lady to the Serie A TIM trophy 3 out of 5 times. Jurgen Klopp led both Sevilla, Arsenal (x2), Juventus (x3), Benfica and Atletico to top 4 position all times. His worst spell were at Sevilla, where the point ratio was only 1.57 points per match – an achievement which led the club to 4th position. His best result came at Juventus achieving a point ratio of 2.59 points per match. Here too the goal ratio was astonishing similar throughout 16 saves ; 1.99 (2) versus 1.89 (1).
These are just some of the 25 managers which was released. Those mentioned here is those who frequently secured a managerial position in the pre-season and held it long enough to provide more accurate points per match ratio and goal ratio. I will be happy to mention some of the other managers that were released if you are interested.
Other Interesting Facts & Conclusion
- The best manager of Football Manager 2016 according to this experiment can be concluded to be Diego Simeone who achieved 2.54 points per match ratio at highest.
- The worst manager in this experiment, if we only focus on the managers who were offered a position of one of the top 10 teams and held it for months were Louis van Gaal with 1.854 points per match.
- Maurizio Sarri was one of the managers who was sacked the most times and recorded the quickest spells – mostly because of the tendency that bottom Serie A clubs offered him a contract (Carpi and Chievo).
- Chelsea and A.C. Milan were two clubs who often sacked their manager despite the team did rather well compared to my expectations from their current squad. It looks like the next manager of any of these two clubs might be fired unless they does not record a top 2 position.
- If Josep Guardiola won’t extend his current contract with Bayern it seems England is the most likely country he will manage in for his next tenure.
- It seems that clubs ending position of season 1 were highly influenced by the media prediction position especially if the ‘right manager’ came in – one who had a rather high win ratio set. It would be interesting to see which position Louis van Gaal would take Manchester City too because of his low average point ratio of my tests, or if Jurgen Klopp would win the Italian Serie A with for example Roma or Napoli.
- Another case I noticed where the frequency of points related to position. For example a club ending at 2nd position of Barclays Premier League oftenly recorded around 83 points. Despite there were some examples which goes against this statement I would believe the amount of points is set in the FM16 database somewhere by Sports Interactive too. For example when Tottenham with Manuel Pellegrini in charge won the Premier League in save 4 they recorded 85 points, 1 point in front of Manchester City at 84 points.
- Hard-coded or not, it seems, based on these few examples that the managers point ratio and goal ratio is a
‘static’ number where the number doesn’t differ that much from save to save no matter which top club they manage. This can be seen by the pdf files which is available to download below and makes me wonder if
- If we should base everything on Football Manager 2016 it seems Luis Enriques 78.16 win ratio could be seen as an over-performance rather than a proof of his managerial abilities. Managing the worlds best football players seems to record an higher win ratio than managing a club with players with less reputation and current abilities. Here you can include Unai Emery and Diego Simeone in this statement.
- The fact that Manchester City hired Jose Mourinho proves to me that the personality aspect of Football Manager is none existing. Here we can include the relationship between the managers and his players and the past performance (good or bad) from the manager with handling the media. That Jose Mourinho was offered a top job in FM16 proves that his level of staff attributes and reputation means more than how the manager will act in press conferences and with the media or how he treat players on the training ground or on a daily basis. The psychological aspect of Football Manager is something that should perhaps be improved for future versions, as modern football is highly influenced by personal reactions, individual abilities of handling pressure and group mentalities and situations arising in the dress room, on the training ground or interaction and personal relationships between the players, players and their staff and players and staff and the media.
All written in this article is based on my personal opinion about my analysis of the Football Manager 2016 database and the events that occurred. I have no knowledge to or facts about how Football Manager 2016 is created or any of the mathematical possibilities that predicts if one event shall take place or not.
Apart from that I’d like to say that this is the first ever Football Manager experiment I’ve done and would love feedback on how I can improve the tests or perhaps make the tests even more accurate, either its this one or future ones. I would also love to hear your ideas and requests for tests you’d like me to do in the future.