Juan Manuel Lillo
|Full name||Juan Manuel Lillo|
|Date of birth||3 November 1965|
|Place of birth||Tolosa, Spain|
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. Afterwards he moved to CD Mirandés also in that level, and led the side to promotion to Segunda División B in the 1988–89 season, as champions.
Lillo made his name as a manager at UD Salamanca, joining the club in mid-1992 at the behest of the club's 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 changes to the team. This prompted reported interest from La Liga side Real Valladolid, but the coach stayed with Salamanca until the end of 1995–96 as it competed in the top flight – 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 – Salamanca finished in last position, eleven points behind 21st-place CP Mérida.
Lillo then had some spells in the top division: in the 1996–97 season he worked with Real Oviedo, but was fired before its closure due to poor results. He returned to management in February 1998 with CD Tenerife, 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 was ultimately relegated.
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, but did not achieve this, being relieved of his duties after barely three months.
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. From 2003 to 2005 he coached in Segunda División, with Ciudad de Murcia and Terrassa FC, with little success (the Catalans were even relegated).
In 2005 Lillo went to Mexico, 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.
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, with the Basques in division two. Despite losing only once during his tenure, he saw the club fail to reach a promotion spot after finishing in sixth position, and was replaced by Martín Lasarte.
In late December 2009, Lillo replaced Hugo Sánchez at the helm of struggling UD Almería, just one place above the relegation zone. After helping the Andalusian team finish 13th, his link was renewed for a further season.
On 20 November 2010, following a 0–8 home loss against FC Barcelona, Lillo was sacked by Almería who were placed in the relegation zone, eventually being relegated after a four-year stay. After several years of inactivity, he was appointed at Colombian club Millonarios FC, being fired on 2 September 2014 after four consecutive Primera A losses and elimination in the Copa Sudamericana.
- La espantada mexicana de Juanma Lillo (Juanma Lillo's Mexican escape) Archived 2008-10-01 at the Wayback Machine.; Notas de Fútbol, 26 March 2006 (in Spanish)
- Juanma Lillo, nuevo entrenador de la Real Sociedad (Juanma Lillo, new Real Sociedad coach); El Diario Vasco, 2 April 2008 (in Spanish)
- Almeria turn to Lillo; FIFA.com, 24 December 2009
- Almeria sack coach Lillo after Barca thrashing; ESPN Soccernet, 20 November 2010
- Juanma Lillo, nuevo entrenador del Millonarios de Bogotá (Juanma Lillo, new Millonarios de Bogotá manager); Diario AS, 4 December 2013 (in Spanish)
- Millonarios destituye a Juanma Lillo (Millonarios fire Juanma Lillo); Marca, 4 September 2014 (in Spanish)
- Juanma Lillo debuta con Chile (Juanma Lillo debuts with Chile); Marca, 8 October 2015 (in Spanish)
- Juan Manuel Lillo manager profile at BDFutbol