Liverpool Manager Jurgen Klopp is the latest special guest to be interviewed as part of season two of JD’s In The Duffle Bag podcast series. Speaking to host, Chuckie, the pair sat down before the Premier League pause and discussed Klopp’s journey from footballer to manager, his views on winning, why everyone should be humble, his experience juggling being the players boss and their friend and that football is ‘just a game’.
Expectations of success
“We are Liverpool, so that means we have to be successful. So that’s what everybody expects… You don’t have to convince any player and tell him. By the way, don’t forget, you are Liverpool and we have to do more”
On football – “It’s just a game”
When asked How does a great leader sort of enhance a great mentality into your players?..
I trust them. I have a lot of faith in them and all that stuff. And it it’s easy because they have wonderful human beings. So now we have to make sure that we all do the same in the same moment …”It’s football. It’s a game. So it’s not that serious actually, it’s just a game. There are more important things in life. So try to stay cheeky a little bit and enjoy it.”
On being humble
“Everyone should be humble because why shouldn’t you be humble? What reason do you have to feel like something special? The boys (players) have a special life in all in all parts. They earn a lot of money, but they cannot go out without anybody watching them. Every week the whole world is watching them and they’re still very young. What they need is faith and trust. They have to realise it’s possible to make the biggest mistakes ever in public and life goes on as long as you have the right people around you.”
“I’m always 100 percent honest at don’t tell, always the truth, but that’s different…if you ask me, I would be one hundred percent honest”
Being lucky in his job
“You can be the best manager in the world, but go in the wrong club and it can kill careers. That’s how it is… I’m not sure if I would recommend a job, but my job I could easily recommend because I was really lucky”
On his time as a football player
“I was a very average player. Obviously, I was not really good. But I still played all the time in my championship team and for different reasons obviously, every coach, every manager thought I was an important part of the team. ..I was the engine of the team. If something went wrong I told everybody and if possible, I told them how we can do better or what we have to do more of. I had that role even as a player.”
On life experience, being a young father
“A lot of players asked me for advice about life. I was a young father, so I had the problems they had now twelve years before, when I was 20/21.. I learned how life changes when you become a father. So that’s what prepared me to have that kind of experience, to make the next step to be the coach or manager. It felt really natural for me because it was overnight. Sunday, I played. Monday, was the manager.”
Being the boss and a friend
“I’m the boss. I say who plays, I say when we train, I say what we do and training, I decide all these things. But in between these decisions, I can be their friend. I always explained it like this… I’m a friend of my players, but I’m not their best friend. I’m not the guy who understands everything but I try to.”
On a deeper relationship with players
“I don’t pretend I’m interested. I am interested. They know pretty much all about me, about my wife and my sons… It’s important to know who you are working with and it’s important to know why somebody is determined and motivated. Where are you coming from? Are you out there to earn money, which is fine, or are you here to make your family proud, or are you here to make a whole country proud? There are so many different things… I think I need to know them. That makes a relationship. They can talk to me and it’s always important.”
Efforts to switch off from a hectic work schedule
“I’m still working on it, but it’s much better than when I was young. My assistant who is in his mid-30s struggles with it, but it’s normal. At his age, he has no clue how to switch off, to be honest. So it will never stop. We have all these ways of self-protecting. You will protect yourself at one point from over working because it cannot constantly be like this…you have to switch learn to switch off.”
The full podcast can be found here: apple.co/2VJS0Wt
Jurgen Klopp was speaking as part of season 2 of JD’s In The Duffle Bag podcast series. Download from Apple, iTunes, Spotify and A-cast and leave a review to win £500 worth of JD vouchers.