uefa.com users have been voting in huge numbers for the uefa.com users' Team of 2001. Voting continues until 30 December and the focus now shifts to the coaches. Read the profiles of the five nominated coaches, view the video and have your say on who should take charge of our Team of 2001. The Team and Coach of 2001 as chosen by the users of uefa.com will be revealed on 3 January 2002.
Gérard Houllier (Liverpool FC)
Since assuming sole control of Liverpool in November 1998, former Paris Saint-Germain FC and France national team coach Gérard Houllier has gradually revitalised the side into one well capable of challenging for honours on all fronts. The year 2001 was his footballing annus mirabilis as Liverpool lifted an incredible five trophies. First up, the English League Cup was won after a penalty shoot-out victory against Birmingham City FC and the FA Cup followed after two Michael Owen goals sank Arsenal FC 2-1. The UEFA Cup was won thrillingly in Dortmund after a 5-4 victory against Spanish side Deportivo Alavés, a result which secured Liverpool’s first European trophy in 17 years. Victories in the UEFA Super Cup and the English Charity Shield also followed though the achievement that arguably gave Houllier most delight was his side’s third-place finish in the FA Premiership which secured qualification for the UEFA Champions League for the first time in the Anfield stadium club's history. In the autumn of 2001 Houllier was taken ill and underwent emergency heart surgery. His assistant Phil Thompson is currently in day-to-day charge at Anfield and oversaw the club’s progress to the second group stage of the Champions League.
Ottmar Hitzfeld (FC Bayern München)
Alongside Sir Alex Ferguson of Manchester United FC and Fabio Capello of AS Roma, Ottmar Hitzfeld is arguably the most successful coach currently working in European football. He led Swiss side Grasshopper-Club to two Nationalliga A titles in the early 1990s. A move to the 1. Bundesliga in Germany followed, assuming control of BV Borussia Dortmund and leading the side to two league crowns as well as victory against Juventus FC in the 1997 UEFA Champions League final before joining Bayern in 1998. In 2001 Hitzfeld has enjoyed his most successful year in Bavaria, as Bayern lifted their third successive Bundesliga title and also finally ended their 25 year wait by once again becoming champions of Europe when they overcame Valencia CF on penalties in the Champions League final.
José Manuel ‘Mane’ Esnal (Deportivo Alavés)
Since taking over as coach of Alavés in 1997 ‘Mane’ has worked miracles with 2001 proving an excellent year. When he assumed control at Alavés stadium, the club had only just avoided relegation to the Spanish third division. Promoted in Mane’s first season in charge, Alavés confounded the pundits and avoided relegation. The following year they did even better, finishing sixth and qualifying for the UEFA Cup. The 2000/01 campaign saw Alavés finish in tenth place in the Primera División and reach the UEFA Cup final in their first ever season in Europe. Once there they succumbed to Liverpool 5-4 after an almighty struggle. Since that dramatic night in Dortmund, Mane has continued to wave his magic wand. At the beginning of December Alavés went top of the Spanish league for the first time in 77 years after beating FC Barcelona 2-0. At the mid-season break Mane’s side were just three points off the top of the table with a game in hand.
Luigi del Neri (AC Chievo Verona)
Aquileia-born Luigi del Neri has enjoyed a remarkable year. Firstly, the 51-year-old, who has been in charge at the Marc’Antonio Bentegodi stadium since the summer of 2000, led Chievo to third place in Serie B and promotion to Serie A for the first time in their 72-year history. Once there, the doom-mongers immediately made them hot favourites to be immediately relegated but the club enjoyed a remarkable start to their Serie A history. Four wins in their first five games saw the unheralded side top of the division and, despite the odd setback, they sit third at the mid-winter break. The highlight of both the coach and the club's debut season in the top flight was the amazing 2-1 away win against fellow pacesetters Internazionale FC at the Giuseppe Meazza stadium on 15 December.
Héctor Cúper (Valencia CF and Internazionale FC)
Argentinian-born coach Hector Cúper enjoyed success in two countries in 2001, although he had to suffer the disappointment of a third successive loss in a major European final. After seeing RCD Mallorca lose the 1999 UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup final and Valencia beaten in the 2000 UEFA Champions League final, Cúper again had to be content with second spot when Valencia lost their second straight Champions League showpiece, this time on penalties to FC Bayern München. Despite this defeat, Cúper’s achievement in reaching a third successive European final, as well as marshalling Valencia to fifth place in the Primera División and revitalising Inter to the extent that they led Serie A at the winter break ensured his participation in uefa.com's poll.
Many thanks for participating in the voting to find the uefa.com users' team of 2001. Voting has now closed, with the complete results to be announced on 2 January 2002.
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