How important are tactics to the modern coach?
In recent discussions on here, Neil Lennon has attracted some adverse criticism for trying to express a view that the importance of tactics is often over-emphasised by the fans and how he delegates some aspects of tactical and team shape implementation to his deputy coaches. He was even described as a football dinosaur for this view.
So I thought I would look to another successful coach to see if his attitudes towards tactics in coaching was more reverential than Neil’s. I picked on Jurgen Klopp but I am quite willing to have a look at what others are saying about the topic, in any future follow up.
So, I just watched the Football Focus mini-documentary on Klopp’s journey as a coach. Right at the start, Klopp said something like “You cannot win matches without some tactics……(he points at his head indicating the word “knowledge” but he does not speak it)……..but far more important is emotion”
In a separate article I read Pepijn Linders, his assistant, stating “Jurgen creates a family. We always say: 30 per cent tactic, 70 per cent teambuilding,”
German football writer, Ali Hesse, says “What Klopp likes is when things get out of control, because at that point it is all about emotion, about passion, and at that point it comes down to how much you want it. This is when Klopp’s teams are at their best. Klopp creates the situation in the game where it is no longer about tactics, but about getting stuck in and making tackles,”
He has received criticism from some for overworking his players, causing injuries but Andy Massey. head of Medical Services at Liverpool, said ““Jurgen’s philosophy is very much that we’ve got to run further, run faster, run quicker than every other team because if we can do that then the skill will take over.
So we’ve got to put the players in a position where they can do that. When Jurgen first came into the club, we tried to put that in there, but the boys weren’t up to that physical level yet to meet the demands.
At one stage, we had 13 hamstring injuries but now, with the benefit of two pre-seasons, we’re seeing the boys work so much harder and they look like they’re more protected.”
I can’t help but wonder How sentences like these would be parsed and interpreted had they come from Neil Lennon, our coach/ football dinosaur?
Klopp himself has a view on that.
When talking about going back on his word and buying Alisson for big money after denouncing the Man U Pogba transfer fee as obscene, he said:-
“That’s the problem these days. Whatever bulls**t you say, nobody will forget it. On the other side, it is still kind of true. I couldn’t imagine the world would change like that from two-and-a-half years ago.
“One hundred million was a crazy amount of money. Since then the world has changed completely and we have signed the most-expensive goalkeeper and all that stuff.
“We don’t care what the world around us is thinking, like Man United didn’t care about what I said. It’s only an opinion in that moment.
“Did I change my opinion? Yes. That’s true. But it’s better to change your opinion than never have one.
“Whatever people say about that and bring it up again and again, I have had worse days in my life and worse things. I am fine with that. We have the players we wanted. I am fine with that.”
The above is by SFTB. As usual guest contributions are welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org