Juan Manuel Lillo

Juan Manuel "Juanma" Lillo Díez (born 3 November 1965) is a Spanish football manager who is an assistant coach for English club Manchester City.

Juanma Lillo
Juan Manuel Lillo Diéz.jpg
Lillo in 2013
Personal information
Full name Juan Manuel Lillo Díez
Date of birth (1965-11-03) 3 November 1965 (age 54)
Place of birth Tolosa, Spain
Club information
Current team
Manchester City (assistant)
Teams managed
Years Team
1981–1985 Amaroz KE
1985–1988 Tolosa
1988–1989 Mirandés
1990–1991 Mirandés
1991–1992 Cultural Leonesa
1992–1996 Salamanca
1996–1997 Oviedo
1998 Tenerife
2000 Zaragoza
2003–2004 Ciudad Murcia
2004–2005 Terrassa
2005–2006 Dorados Sinaloa
2008–2009 Real Sociedad
2009–2010 Almería
2014 Millonarios
2015–2016 Chile (assistant)
2016–2017 Sevilla (assistant)
2017 Atlético Nacional
2018–2019 Vissel Kobe
2019–2020 Qingdao Huanghai
2020– Manchester City (assistant)

Having started coaching before his 20s, he was the youngest manager in charge of a La Liga club, having taken over Salamanca at not yet 30 years of age. He also coached Oviedo, Tenerife, Zaragoza and Almería in the top-flight.

Coaching careerEdit

Early years / SalamancaEdit

Born in Tolosa, Gipuzkoa, Lillo began coaching local Amaroz KE at just 16 and, four years later, he took charge of Tolosa CF in Tercera División. He moved to CD Mirandés also in that level afterwards, and led the side to promotion to Segunda División B in the 1988–89 season, as champions.[1]

Lillo spent the 1991–92 campaign at Cultural y Deportiva Leonesa, advocating a 4–2–3–1 formation. He became the youngest coach to attain the national coaching badge in Spain.[1]

Lillo made his name as a manager at UD Salamanca, joining the club in mid-1992 at the behest of its chairman Juan José Hidalgo. In his first season he finished second in the third level, narrowly missing out on promotion playoffs which he attained the following campaign without any major squad changes. This prompted reported interest from Real Valladolid, but the coach stayed until the end of 1995–96 as they competed in La Liga[2]– this made him the youngest ever person to manage at the highest level, at only 29; after 28 games in charge, with Salamanca four points into the relegation zone, he was dismissed, but players and fans publicly opposed the sacking, supporting him in recognition of his achievements – the team finished in last position, eleven points behind 21st-placed CP Mérida.[3]

Lillo then had some spells in the top division: in the 1996–97 season he worked with Real Oviedo,[4] but was fired before its closure due to poor results.[5] He returned to management in February 1998 with CD Tenerife,[6] helping them avoid relegation in his first year; the following campaign, however, he did not see out the year, being sacked after 15 matches as the team were ultimately relegated.[7]

After a year-and-a-half break, Lillo returned to take the reins of Real Zaragoza – the team had qualified for the UEFA Cup the previous season, and manager Txetxu Rojo moved to Athletic Bilbao. He set about fulfilling the task of progressing in the European competition and repeating European qualification through the league[8] but did not achieve this, being relieved of his duties after barely three months.[9]


Lillo did not return to coaching quickly: he worked as a sports commentator for television channel Antena 3, during its 2002 FIFA World Cup coverage.[10] From 2003 to 2005 he coached in Segunda División, with Ciudad de Murcia[11] and Terrassa FC, with little success (the Catalans were even relegated).

Lillo went to Mexico in 2005, joining Dorados de Sinaloa and resigning mid-season (the club would also eventually drop down a division). He insinuated that the team he was battling against to avoid relegation, Televisa-owned San Luis FC, had gained unusual victories against more powerful opposition, which were also owned by the Televisa group; this caused much controversy in both the Mexican press and football league.[12]

Following the incident, Lillo spent the following two years away from football until he was appointed as the new head coach of Real Sociedad in April 2008,[13] with the Basques in the second tier. Despite losing only once during his tenure he saw them fail to reach a promotion spot after finishing in sixth position, and was replaced by Martín Lasarte.[14]

In late December 2009, Lillo replaced Hugo Sánchez at the helm of struggling UD Almería, just one place above the relegation zone.[15] After helping the Andalusian team finish 13th, his link was renewed for a further season.[16]

After a 8–0 home loss against FC Barcelona on 20 November 2010, Lillo was dismissed with the side in the relegation zone,[17] and eventually being relegated after four years.


After several years of inactivity, Lillo was appointed at Colombian club Millonarios FC in December 2013.[18] He was fired on 2 September the following year, after four consecutive Primera A losses and elimination in the Copa Sudamericana.[19]

On 8 October 2015, Lillo joined Jorge Sampaoli's staff at the Chile national team, being handed the role of handling the transition of players from the youth sides to the main squad.[20] On 21 June 2017, after leaving Sevilla FC where he was working under the same manager,[21] he was announced as the new coach Atlético Nacional in place of Reinaldo Rueda;[22] he resigned from his position at the latter in December, after being eliminated by Deportes Tolima in the quarter-finals of the Categoría Primera A.[23]

Lillo switched continents again in September 2018, joining Japanese J1 League club Vissel Kobe who had recently signed high-profile compatriot Andrés Iniesta.[24] He resigned the following April with the team in mid-table, despite financial backing from Rakuten and the presence of other veterans such Lukas Podolski and David Villa.[25] Remaining in the Far East, he took the helm at Qingdao Huanghai F.C. of China League One in August 2019, and won six of his first seven games as they rose from fifth place to guarantee promotion to the Super League;[26] the side, who had Yaya Touré in midfield, finished the season as champions.[27]

On 9 June 2020, Lillo was announced as new Manchester City assistant coach, replacing Mikel Arteta.[28]




Qingdao Huanghai


  1. ^ a b Lllago, Ricardo (24 October 2008). "El ´enfant terrible´ vuelve a la carga" [The ´enfant terrible´ comes charging again]. El Periódico Mediterráneo (in Spanish). Retrieved 15 June 2018.
  2. ^ Líbero, Pedro (28 June 1995). "El Salamanca, a lo grande" [Salamanca, in style] (PDF). Mundo Deportivo (in Spanish). Retrieved 15 June 2018.
  3. ^ "La plantilla del Salamanca critica la destitución de Lillo" [The Salamanca squad criticises Lillo's dismissal]. El País (in Spanish). 27 February 1996. Retrieved 15 June 2018.
  4. ^ "Lillo entrenará al Oviedo" [Lillo to coach Oviedo]. El País (in Spanish). 28 May 1996. Retrieved 15 June 2018.
  5. ^ Díaz, Mario; Queralt, Rosa (18 April 1997). "Destitución de Lillo tras el descalabro que sufrió el Oviedo ante el Racing" [Lillo dismissal after Oviedo came crashing down against Racing]. El País (in Spanish). Retrieved 15 June 2018.
  6. ^ Castañeda, Álvaro; Cruz, Santa (20 February 1998). "Lillo se cura en salud el día de su presentación" [Lillo shakes the pressure off in day of his presentation] (PDF). Mundo Deportivo (in Spanish). Retrieved 15 June 2018.
  7. ^ Fernández Trujillo, César (21 December 1998). "Lillo, destituido tras empatar el Tenerife con el Extremadura" [Lillo, dismissed after Tenerife drew with Extremadura]. El País (in Spanish). Retrieved 15 June 2018.
  8. ^ Andrés, Mariano (31 May 2000). ""Cojo un equipo de Liga de Campeones"" [“I take the reins of a Champions League team”] (PDF). Mundo Deportivo (in Spanish). Retrieved 15 June 2018.
  9. ^ López, Toni (9 October 2000). ""Me han apaleado"" [“I have endured a beating”] (PDF). La Vanguardia (in Spanish). Retrieved 15 June 2018.
  10. ^ San Martín, P.P. (21 May 2002). "Primer desembarco de Antena 3 en Corea" [First landing of Antena 3 in Korea]. Diario AS (in Spanish). Retrieved 15 June 2018.
  11. ^ Vera, José A. (26 July 2003). ""Este club quiere crecer y puedo hacerlo con él"" ["This club wants to grow and I can do the same while here"]. Diario AS (in Spanish). Retrieved 15 June 2018.
  12. ^ Gutiérrez, Miguel (23 March 2006). "La espantada mexicana de Juanma Lillo" [Juanma Lillo's Mexican escape] (in Spanish). Notas de Fútbol. Archived from the original on 1 October 2008. Retrieved 23 February 2009.
  13. ^ "Juanma Lillo, nuevo entrenador de la Real Sociedad" [Juanma Lillo, new Real Sociedad coach]. El Diario Vasco (in Spanish). 2 April 2008. Retrieved 23 February 2009.
  14. ^ "La Real Sociedad, un peso pesado que no está en su mejor momento" [Real Sociedad, heavyweight not in their best shape]. Diario del AltoAragón (in Spanish). 25 September 2009. Retrieved 17 April 2020.
  15. ^ "Almeria turn to Lillo". FIFA. 24 December 2009. Retrieved 12 April 2011.
  16. ^ "Lillo renueva como entrenador del Almería" [Lillo renews as Almería manager] (in Spanish). Canal Sur. 20 May 2010. Retrieved 15 June 2018.
  17. ^ "Almeria sack coach Lillo after Barca thrashing". ESPN Soccernet. 20 November 2010. Retrieved 12 April 2011.
  18. ^ "Juanma Lillo, nuevo entrenador del Millonarios de Bogotá" [Juanma Lillo, new Millonarios de Bogotá manager]. Diario AS (in Spanish). 4 December 2013. Retrieved 8 December 2015.
  19. ^ "Millonarios destituye a Juanma Lillo" [Millonarios dismiss Juanma Lillo]. Marca (in Spanish). 4 September 2014. Retrieved 8 December 2015.
  20. ^ Castro, Juan (8 October 2015). "Juanma Lillo debuta con Chile" [Juanma Lillo debuts with Chile]. Marca (in Spanish). Retrieved 8 December 2015.
  21. ^ "Lillo formará parte del cuerpo técnico del Sevilla junto a Sampaoli" [Lillo to be part of Sevilla's coaching staff under Sampaoli] (in Spanish). EITB. 28 June 2016. Retrieved 15 June 2018.
  22. ^ "Juan Manuel Lillo es el nuevo técnico de Atlético Nacional" [Juan Manuel Lillo is the new manager of Atlético Nacional] (in Spanish). Antena 2. 21 June 2017. Retrieved 21 June 2017.
  23. ^ "Lillo dimite como entrenador del Atlético Nacional" [Lillo resigns as Atlético Nacional manager]. Diario AS (in Spanish). 5 December 2017. Retrieved 15 June 2018.
  24. ^ "Juan Manuel Lillo to take over as Japan's Vissel Kobe coach". EFE. 17 September 2018. Retrieved 18 November 2019.
  25. ^ "Football: Lukas Podolski hints at Vissel strife after Lillo departure". Kyodo News. 18 April 2019. Retrieved 18 November 2019.
  26. ^ Castro, Juan (26 January 2019). "Juanma Lillo asciende a la Primera china con el Qingdao Huanghai" [Juanma Lillo promotes to Chinese top flight with Qingdao Huanghai]. Marca (in Spanish). Retrieved 18 November 2019.
  27. ^ White, Jonathan (3 November 2019). "Yaya Toure sent off after just 10 seconds of final game in China as speculation on former Barcelona and Manchester City star's next step continues". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 18 November 2019.
  28. ^ "Juanma Lillo joins City's coaching staff". Manchester City F.C. 9 June 2020. Retrieved 9 June 2020.

External linksEdit