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As a player, Philip Cocu was known for his combative displays in the heart of midfield but quite surprisingly, as a manager, he is not been linked to any top job available. He was known worldwide as a central or defensive midfielder for the likes of Vitesse, Barcelona and PSV. In Spain, he played almost 300 games in just 6 seasons, showing his longevity and ability. Perhaps the younger football lovers remember him most for his role in PSV reaching the semifinals of the Champions League back in 2005. Alongside the likes of Ji-Sung Park, Gomes, Y.P Lee and Jeferson Farfan, they played some scintillating football, only losing to Italian side, AC Milan on away goals rule.
As a manager, he has done very well in charge of Dutch side, PSV Eindhoven, winning consecutive league titles and on course for a third triumph in 5 years. After the heartache of last season that saw his former international teammate, Van Bronckhorst win the league title with Feyenoord, Cocu has led his team to the summit of the Eredivisie, 5 points clear of Ajax who are in second place. While Dutch coaches like Louis Van Gaal, Guus Hiddink and Johan Cruyff led the way for other managers back in the late 1980s and 1990s, the Dutch manager is termed as being outdated, as the famous Total football mantra of Rinus Michels is not entirely leaning to Dutch teams challenging for trophies apart from in the Dutch league.
Frank De Boer, the former Netherlands international had won four straight league titles in charge of Ajax and was expected to go outside Holland to test himself against the best of the best. He failed spectacularly at Inter Milan and Crystal Palace, as he proved himself unable to manage players not enshrined in the Dutch way of playing. Cocu is not the model Dutch manager, infusing a bit of other tactical methods in his playing philosophy. He must do well in the European competitions, but he can also point to the fact that the quality of players he has can’t make a serious case in the Champions League and Europa League.
He took the job permanently in 2013, and his best finish has been a Round of 16 slot on 2015/16. They should be doing better in the Europa League as their best placed finish has been a Round of 32 back in 2014/15. Last season, they finished third in the League despite losing just 2 matches, as their 10 draws saw them lose so many points. At this point he should be looking at managing in the Premier League, Bundesliga and other top leagues to compete with the best managers around, and he will be better for it. In 210 matches as manager of the 1988 Champions League winners, he has won 138, drawn 33 and has lost just 39 with a fantastic win percentage of 66.71%.
He must leave his comfort zone to be able to get the top jobs available, as constantly winning the Eredivisie won’t make him get the attention he deserves. Known as a combative player in his heydays, he must have the same mentality in his career. The likes of Mourinho, Guardiola and Conte are household names today because they went the extra mile.