Seven successful assistants that flopped as managers including Steve McClaren and Pep Lijnders

Handling pressure and responsibility is a must for any football manager, and these seven assistants found out the hard way that they’re not quite up to the task.

Standing by and watching a manager praised for all the hard work behind the scenes must be tough for assistant coaches, so it's hard to blame them for wanting a chance at it themselves.

But while it has worked out for some, others quickly find themselves way out of their depth.

Here, Planet Sport looks back at seven successful assistants who endured nightmare stints as first team managers.

Steve McClaren

Set to become Erik ten Hag's assistant at Manchester United next season, McClaren's vast experience could help the Dutchman settle in at Old Trafford.

But while McClaren has enjoyed plenty of success as an advisor, his record as a manager is patchy.

His first stint as assistant came at Manchester United in 1999 as Sir Alex Ferguson's deputy and it could scarcely have gone any better - United won the treble.

McClaren was handed his first managerial role in 2001, spending five season at Middlesbrough where he guide the north-east club to the League Cup, a seventh-placed finish in the Premier League and a stunning run to the final of the UEFA Cup.

Described the Evening Gazette as "the most successful Boro manager of all time by a country mile", he succeeded Sven-Goran Eriksson as England manager in 2006.

He had been working as a coach for England alongside his club duties on and off since 2000 but his appointment was not greeted with enthusiasm despite his achievements at Boro.

The concerns were well founded. His spell in charge of the Three Lions ended in tears as England failed to qualify for the Euros in 2008, marking their first absence from a major tournament in 14 years.

Having gone from a superb coach to the Wally with the Brolly in just 16 months, McClaren revived his career with Dutch side Twente, winning the Eredivisie in 2010. However, his career has been in steady decline from then on in with underwhelming spells in charge of Wolfsburg, Nottingham Forest, Twente (again), Derby County, Newcastle United, Derby County (again) and QPR.

His win rate at Forest was a measly 23.1%, while his spell in Newcastle saw him win just seven of his 31 games in charge. One win in 15 ended his spell at QPR and he was again back to Derby, this time as technical director.

Brian Kidd

Seven years as Sir Alex Ferguson's right-hand man earned Brian Kidd his fair share of plaudits, including a large majority of the 'Class of '92', with stars such as Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Gary Neville all suggesting Kidd's coaching was crucial to their progression.

Kidd spent three years with United's youth team between 1988 and 1991, before being promoted to sit alongside Sir Alex for a further seven years.

Having enjoyed plenty of success as an assistant, Kidd was eager to try his hand as a manager. He joined Blackburn Rovers in 1998 and was quoted as saying: "You can leave it too long and I don't want to die wondering."

Well he wasn't left wondering for too long. He lasted just 11 months before being sacked, with Rovers down in 19th and relegated from Division One.

Having found out the hard way that he was best suited as an assistant, Kidd returned to doing what he did best, and he went on to be a right-hand man at Leeds United, England, Sheffield United, Portsmouth and Manchester City.

John Carver

John Carver Newcastle manager

As a Newcastle local who served under Sir Bobby Robson, John Carver had all the credentials to become a successful manager at St. James' Park, but it didn't quite work out that way.

Carver enjoyed two spells at Newcastle as an assistant, the first under Robson in 2004 before returning to serve under Alan Pardew in 2011.

Having racked up a bit of experience between the two stints, including a season in charge of Toronto FC in the 2008/09 campaign, Carver put himself forward for the Newcastle job in 2015 when Pardew left for Crystal Palace.

Newcastle sat 10th in the Premier League when Carver took charge, but his time as interim manager couldn't have gone worse. A record-breaking run of eight successive losses dragged the Magpies into a relegation battle and their fight for survival went down to the final week.

Despite suffering heavy losses and nearly steering the club to the Championship, Carver hilariously insisted he was "the best coach in the Premier League". It was something he would be able to put on his CV weeks later after his contract was terminated.

Funnily enough, his successor on Tyneside was none other than Steve McClaren.

Mike Phelan

Mike Phelan, Sir Alex Ferguson

Another Sir Alex Ferguson assistant who failed as a manager. Phelan was on the bench at Old Trafford for five years and watched the side win three Premier League titles under the iconic Scotsman.

But when Sir Alex announced his retirement in 2013, Phelan left alongside him to make way for David Moyes' backroom staff.

Phelan then found himself at Hull City in 2015, first as assistant to Steve Bruce before assuming charge as caretaker upon Bruce's resignation.

Phelan's first taste of management started superbly, as he picked up the Manager of the Month award for August, which earned him a permanent role by October.

However, results quickly began to deteriorate, with Phelan's permanent appointing heralding a 6-1 defeat and a run of one win in 12.

Unsurprisingly, Phelan was sacked in January 2017. He returned to Manchester United and another assistant role, this time for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Sammy Lee

Lee's time under Sam Allardyce was hugely successful, with their Bolton Wanderers side finishing eighth and fifth in the Premier League all while playing in the UEFA Cup.

So when Big Sam's attention turned towards Newcastle United in 2007, Lee put himself forward as a replacement, with Allardyce even recommending his former No.2 for the role.

As a result, Lee was handed the reins for the 2007/08 season, but no one expected him to make such drastic changes around the Reebok Stadium, with 12 new signings coming through the doors in the summer.

Lee's attempted revolution quickly crashed and burned, with Bolton winning just one of their first 11 Premier League matches under the new manager. It cost Lee his job, and he has stayed well away from any other managerial jobs thereafter.

Pep Lijnders

Touted by many to be Jurgen Klopp's successor once he leaves Anfield, Lijnders has worked under the charismatic German for seven years.

But Liverpool fans may want to rethink their choice once they look at Lijnders' spell as manager of Dutch side NEC.

Following three years under Klopp in Merseyside, Lijnders departed in January 2018 to take charge of NEC, with hopes that he could turn around their poor start to the season.

He didn't. Instead, Lijnders was shown the door the following summer after he failed to win promotion back to the Eredivisie.

It was a tough ask for a first managerial spell, but Lijnders clearly felt out of his depth and swiftly slotted back in as Klopp's right-hand man, where he continues his work to this day.

Craig Shakespeare

After working as an assistant manager for 11 years of his career, Shakespeare finally got his shot at management at Leicester City in 2017, following the sacking of Premier League winner Claudio Ranieri.

A debut win over Liverpool was the dream start for Shakespeare's tenure at King Power Stadium, and he looked to fit right in after winning all of his first four matches in charge of the Foxes.

His strong start earned him a three-year contract at the club, but his side started the 2017/18 season woefully, with Leicester sinking into the relegation zone.

In October, Shakespeare was handed his P45 following a dismal start to his first full season as manager. Following on from that, he returned to being an assistant, taking roles at Watford, Aston Villa and Norwich City.

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