Jose Mourinho, Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola face unknown without assistants

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Jose Mourinho, Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola will go into the new season without Rui Faria, Zeljko Buvac and and Domenec Torrent as their assistants for the very first time


For the first time in their managerial careers, Jose Mourinho, Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola will start the season without their trusted assistants. 

Rui Faria, Zeljko Buvac and Domenec Torrent spent a combined 45 years acting as right-hand men to the three respective Premier League managers, but coincidentally all left in the space of less than two months between April and June.

While it may seem like business as usual as the new Premier League season approaches, the three managers are heading into unknown territory. 

Sportsmail looks at why the three assistants left, who has replaced them and asks how much of an impact their absence could make.

Jose Mourinho, Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola will go into the new season without Rui Faria, Zeljko Buvac and and Domenec Torrent as their assistants for the very first time

Jose Mourinho, Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola will go into the new season without Rui Faria, Zeljko Buvac and and Domenec Torrent as their assistants for the very first time

Rui Faria (Jose Mourinho)

Years served under boss: 17 (Joined 2001)

Clubs with Mourinho: Uniao Leiria 2001*; Porto 2002–2004*; Chelsea 2004–2007; Inter Milan 2008–2010; Real Madrid 2010–2013; Chelsea 2013–2015; Manchester United 2016–2018. *Fitness coach

Departure: May 2018

The season has not even started for Manchester United but already we may be getting a taste of what life after Faria might be like at Old Trafford. The former fitness coach regularly acted as a defusing presence between Mourinho and his squad. 

When the manager’s infamous temper got the better of him, it was Faria who so regularly brought him back from the brink. When he publicly criticised a player, it was Faria who would act to extinguish any tension between them, reminding Mourinho of his duties and comforting the player in question. 

But he found himself the target of Mourinho’s aggression in May and subsequently decided to end their long association. Originally, it was thought Faria wanted to move into management himself, but having not yet found alternative employment, it is thought a breakdown between the pair may have sparked his departure. 

Rui Faria and Jose Mourinho have been on quite the journey together across six different clubs 

Rui Faria and Jose Mourinho have been on quite the journey together across six different clubs 

Rui Faria and Jose Mourinho have been on quite the journey together across six different clubs 

Faria was ready to put himself on the line for Mourinho, but was usually a calming presence

Faria was ready to put himself on the line for Mourinho, but was usually a calming presence

Faria was ready to put himself on the line for Mourinho, but was usually a calming presence

Having originally met while Faria was on a training day at Barcelona in the late 1990s, where Mourinho was assistant to Louis van Gaal, it was the end of an era both personally and professionally.

From a tactical point of view, there should be no change. Faria was never considered to be of tremendous value on the training ground but his emotional support and ability to temper Mourinho when he came close to boiling point is something he will unlikely be able to replace. Perhaps that is why he has decided not to look for a successor, saying: ‘I will organise my coaching staff in a way where the assistant manager figure doesn’t exist.’

In Michael Carrick, Mourinho still has that bridge between himself and the squad. The former midfielder, who retired in the summer, moved straight into his coaching set-up and is well respected among the team.

But already there appears to be cracks emerging. Mourinho has fired shots at chief Ed Woodward for not spending enough and moved his already rocky relationship with Anthony Martial onto untenable grounds. 

Ordinarily, it would be Faria to put out the fire, but now there is no-one close enough – or brave enough – to put Mourinho in his place.

Now Mourinho has lost his most loyal servant, he has no one to guard him against himself

Now Mourinho has lost his most loyal servant, he has no one to guard him against himself

Now Mourinho has lost his most loyal servant, he has no one to guard him against himself

Zeljko Buvac (Jurgen Klopp)

Years served under boss: 17 (Joined 2001)

Clubs with Klopp: Mainz 2001–2008; Borussia Dortmund 2008–2015; Liverpool 2015–2018.

Departure: April 2018 – although still officially employed by Liverpool

If Rui Faria was not a tactician but more of a personal assistant to Mourinho, Buvac was very much the opposite to Jurgen Klopp during their 17-year partnership. The Bosnian was a key advisor to Klopp both in tactical planning and on the training ground.  

‘Zeljko is a master of all forms of training, I learn from him every day,’ Klopp once said of his partner in crime, who gave up a position as Neukirchen head coach to be his assistant at Mainz in 2001. ‘I’ve made a lot of good decisions in my career, but the best one was appointing Buvac as coach – he’s the best coach I’ve ever known.’

Zeljko Buvac was nicknamed 'The Brain' by Jurgen Klopp, who hailed his tactical knowledge

Zeljko Buvac was nicknamed 'The Brain' by Jurgen Klopp, who hailed his tactical knowledge

Zeljko Buvac was nicknamed ‘The Brain’ by Jurgen Klopp, who hailed his tactical knowledge

It was exactly that reputation as a coaching maverick that saw him briefly become one of the favourites to replace Arsene Wenger at Arsenal, which was at first considered his main reason for leaving Anfield.

But the timing of his departure – on the eve of their Champions League semi-final against Roma – sparked rumours that it was in fact acrimony. 

It has since been claimed that the final weeks of the partnership saw Buvac become increasingly distant to the point that he sat in the corner of the dressing room on his own while Klopp conducted a half-time team talk against Stoke City. He departed citing ‘personal reasons’ soon after.

The Bosnian (right) became increasingly detached from Klopp at Liverpool last season

The Bosnian (right) became increasingly detached from Klopp at Liverpool last season

The Bosnian (right) became increasingly detached from Klopp at Liverpool last season

Although still listed on Liverpool’s website as a coach, it is becoming increasingly unlikely that Buvac will return to Melwood. The clearest indication of that was Klopp’s decision to replace him with Pepijn Lijnders, who was invited back into the fold following a short and unsuccessful managerial stint at Dutch side NEC.

Coming in under Brendan Rodgers in 2014 as a youth coach and then promoted to the role of first-team coach a year later, Lijnders has been able to provide a strong link between the academy and senior squads. The progression of players like Trent Alexander-Arnold and Ben Woodburn can be directly linked to his influence. 

Although Klopp has lost someone special in Buvac, he clearly rates the Dutchman highly and is ready to move on without a man he once labelled ‘The Brain’.

Although still on Liverpool's payroll, it would take a shocking turnaround for him to return

Although still on Liverpool's payroll, it would take a shocking turnaround for him to return

Although still on Liverpool’s payroll, it would take a shocking turnaround for him to return

Domenec Torrent (Pep Guardiola)

Years served under boss: 11 (Joined 2007)

Clubs with Guardiola: Barcelona B 2007-2008; Barcelona 2008-2012; Bayern Munich 2013-2016; Manchester City 2016-2018.

Departure: June 2018

The departure of Torrent is different to both Faria and Buvac in the sense that their 11-year partnership ended peacefully. Torrent wanted a return to full-time management and was given the chance to replace Patrick Vieira at New York City FC, which is owned by the City Football Group. 

‘Though I have enjoyed a wonderful 11 years working alongside my colleague and close friend Pep Guardiola – it has always been my ambition to manage a team again and I really couldn’t have hoped for a better opportunity than at this football club,’ said Torrent.

Domenec Torrent has been an assistant to Pep Guardiola at every club he has managed

Domenec Torrent has been an assistant to Pep Guardiola at every club he has managed

Domenec Torrent has been an assistant to Pep Guardiola at every club he has managed

The 55-year-old has helped to shape the tactical masterclasses synonymous with Guardiola

The 55-year-old has helped to shape the tactical masterclasses synonymous with Guardiola

The 55-year-old has helped to shape the tactical masterclasses synonymous with Guardiola

The 55-year-old has been beside Guardiola since the very start of his managerial career, joining him as an assistant at Barcelona B before helping to bring a tidal wave of trophies (24 in total) to Barcelona’s elite team, Bayern Munich and Manchester City.

But while his departure will be considered a loss for Guardiola, it opens the door for Mikel Arteta to stake his claim as the new No 2. As of yet, no direct replacement has been named, but Arteta is understood to have grown into an indispensable figure in just two seasons at the Etihad.

The Spaniard was widely expected to become Arsenal manager before Unai Emery’s late entry and now Manchester City could guard against losing him by offering him the hottest of assistant seats in the game.

Mikel Arteta (right) now has the opportunity to stake his claim for Torrent's vacant seat

Mikel Arteta (right) now has the opportunity to stake his claim for Torrent's vacant seat

Mikel Arteta (right) now has the opportunity to stake his claim for Torrent’s vacant seat

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