The 10 most winning coaches in Isuzu UTE A-League history: Two current bosses feature!

Wellington Phoenix are soaring to new heights under rookie head coach Giancarlo Italiano in the Isuzu UTE A-League this season. We look at where his win rate ranks in competition history.

Wellington Phoenix are not only a team transformed, they are the team to beat in the Isuzu UTE A-League.

Before this season, Giancarlo Italiano had never been a head coach at A-Leagues level and, prior to 2023-24, the Phoenix have never won a Premiership or Championship.

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But with their rookie head coach at the helm, Wellington are soaring to new heights in their pursuit of history.

“I just want everyone, when they watch a Phoenix game, be really happy watching, whether they are a Phoenix fan or not. I want people just to watch to see what happens with us,” Italiano told at the start of the season.

“I’m not interested in turning over results and shutting shop. For me, football is about enriching people’s lives. We have a great opportunity, we want all Kiwis to be proud.”

The Phoenix are three points clear atop the table heading into Round 20, with 11 wins and just two defeats from from 20 matches as Italiano – nicknamed ‘Chiefy’ – boasts a win rate of 55%.

Only one other manager in Isuzu UTE A-League history has a better percentage. We look at where Italiano’s win rate stacks up all-time (minimum of 10 games coached).

10. Steve Corica – 48%

Steve Corica is preparing for Auckland’s inaugural season in the Isuzu UTE A-League after his long-standing relationship with Sydney FC came to an end in November.

During his tenure, the Sky Blues legend won 70 of his 146 matches (D31 L45) at the helm. Those victories yielded a Premiership and two Championships.

9. Pierre Littbarski – 50%

The German legend was Sydney FC’s foundation coach when the Isuzu UTE A-League kicked off in 2005.

Boasting Manchester United legend Dwight Yorke, Corica himself, current Sydney boss Ufuk Talay and his assistant David Zdrilic, the club won the first-ever Championship with the 1990 FIFA Men’s World Cup winner in charge.

Littbarski had 12 wins, seven draws and five defeats to his name from 24 fixtures during the successful managerial spell.

8. Nick Montgomery – 50%

Montgomery is now in charge of Scottish Premiership outfit Hibernian after guiding Central Coast Mariners to the 2022-23 Championship – the club’s first in a decade.

The former Mariners captain helped guide Central Coast to the summit while placing his faith in youth. He won exactly half of his 56 A-Leagues matches – 28.

7. Kevin Muscat – 51%

A name synonymous with Melbourne Victory, the A-Leagues great enjoyed great success as a player and a coach.

Before guiding Yokohama F.Marinos to J1 League glory in 2022 before taking charge of Chinese Super League champions Shanghai Port this season, Muscat won a pair of Championships, a Premiership and an Australia Cup as Victory boss.

From 172 league games, the former Socceroo won 87 of them (D36 L49) between 2013 and 2019.

6. Ange Postecoglou – 51%

The Australian legend transformed the A-Leagues with his ‘Roarcelona’ team at Brisbane Roar, introducing an entertaining brand of football – one that broke records.

Now in charge of Tottenham in the Premier League, Postecoglou had 57 wins to his name from 111 A-Leagues matches between 2009 and 2013 (D29 L25) as he won back-to-back Championships in Brisbane and a Premiership.

5. Erick Mombaerts – 54%

The Frenchman spent 14 months as head coach of Melbourne City before returning to his homeland.

City have gone on to win a Championship and play in the AFC Champions League but under Mombaerts’ leadership, they had qualified for their first ever Grand Final, achieved their highest ever finishing position, and secured a spot in the AFC Champions League for the first time. 

In total, Mombaerts’ City won 15 of his 28 games, to go with five draws and eight losses.

4. Graham Arnold – 55%

The Socceroos boss has a rich history in the Isuzu UTE A-League.

Before being appointed by Australia in 2018, Arnold won a Championship and Premiership with the Mariners. He also won a Championship and two Premierships at Sydney, plus an Australia Cup.

He oversaw 211 matches in that period – W116 D53 L42.

3. Mark Jackson – 55%

Like Italiano, Jackson is the new kid on the block after replacing Montgomery at the start of the season and the Englishman has been challenging on two fronts.

The Mariners are second in the standings and preparing for the AFC Cup Inter Zonal Semi-Final, despite losing all four of their opening Isuzu UTE A-League matches.

From his 20 league games to date, the former Leeds United academy boss has won 11, drawn four and lost five.

2. Giancarlo Italiano – 55%

Italiano never ended to get this spot. He was going to quit and he is still considering a different career as a lawyer.

In the meantime, the 41-year-old law student, who stepped up from his role as assistant following Ufuk Talay’s departure at the end of 2022-23, has the Phoenix daring to dream this term.

1. Patrick Kisnorbo – 59%

Kisnorbo had a hugely successful tenure in his home city of Melbourne.

The ex-Socceroo, who first joined City as a player in 2016, was appointed in 2020 and led the club to the double in his first season at the helm. He won back-to-back Premierships before leaving early in the 2022-23 season after taking charge of sister City Football Group (CFG) club Troyes last year.

Kisnorbo had 37 wins from his 63 matches (D13 L13).