Through an interview with Goal.com‘s Melissa Reddy, Jürgen Klopp has provided a deeper insight into his thoughts on ‘Plan B’ and outside influences.
“The rule is that it is better to have 11 players doing the same thing wrong than one player doing whatever he wants.”
That’s Liverpool boss Jürgen Klopp talking to Melissa Reddy of Goal.com and discussing the need for his players to ignore outside influences and play their game as a functioning, team unit.
The German believes that last season’s talk of a lack of plan B during Sadio Mané’s absence was a misguided approach that “shows a lack of understanding.”
The former Dortmund manager believes that even in a “moment when you do not feel confident,” changes should be kept to a minimum as doubting yourself shows weakness through an “insecurity” in your game plan.
“It’s not about showing what you can do – like ‘hey, here is Plan D, F, Q!'” explains Klopp.
“My job is not to prove that I can do 1000 different techniques or no-looking coaching or whatever, it is to do what is best for the players I have, with our skills, in the situation we are in.”
“When I hear or read these things about us, I know I 100 per cent do not listen. But oh my god, everybody else listens, so we have to block that out and focus on us and our way.”
Klopp details the fact that his players need to learn how to block out media coverage, along with news and opinions from the outside and tune into only one station of criticism. His.
“This is very important,” he says.
“What we need to create is where they understand completely that the only criticism they need to take is mine – not because I’m the only one that knows anything, but because I’m the one they have to pay attention to.
“I’m the one giving them the direction together with our backroom and support team. So it makes no sense to trust what people who are not involved in the process think.”
Klopp cites Netherlands winger Arjen Robben as the perfect example of what he means.
“Whatever the world says about him, or thinks about him – he delivers,” the German explains.
“One time, he will miss the easy pass and everyone will moan ‘why did he shoot?’. Next time, he will not pass and shoot from that angle again – goal! – then it’s ‘oh, good idea to shoot from there’.
“He doesn’t care what the opinions from outside are, he knows how his team needs him to use his skills.”
Using an example of a player closer to home, Klopp highlights Roberto Firmino – who has drawn past criticism for his lack of end product in the penalty area at times – and his role as the Reds’ main striker.
“With Roberto Firmino people say he does not score enough,” Klopp says, beginning his analysis.
“What?! He is the best player without scoring with how well he reads the game for the benefit of others. Outstanding! But then what if he starts thinking ‘oh, I need more goals’ and starts shooting from all over the place when usually, he would play a clever ball and make a run to open up the space?”
“There needs to be one plan, one voice, one belief. It will not always be perfect, because we are not perfect, but it is our way.”
You can read the entire transcript of Melissa’s fantastic interview here.