Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone has named Jurgen Klopp as the manager he admires most in world football because he always sticks to the same style.
Both Borussia Dortmund and Liverpool gained reputations for their dynamic attacking style under the German, even when things weren’t going to plan. Despite criticism, Simeone believes this should be praised.
Klopp’s style: Five things to know…
- Jurgen Klopp described his style of football as ‘heavy metal’.
- At Dortmund, he became known for his deployment of ‘Gegenpressing’.
- The style involves high-intensity pressing right after losing possession.
- At Liverpool, he was initially criticised for an ability to control games and keep clean sheets.
- However, his tactics were a key reason in Liverpool winning the Champions League last season.
Simeone and Klopp are both managers who have done wonders at clubs which have often limited resources compared to their rivals, perhaps rendering it unsurprising that the Atletico boss is a big fan of his Merseyside counterpart.
In an interview with Spanish radio station Cadena Ser, the Argentinian was quick to identify his admiration for Klopp.
He said: “A coach I admire? Jurgen Klopp. No doubt.
“He had to lose things and also win beautiful things, but always with the same style. I see him close to his players.”
Klopp’s very successful reign at Dortmund ended in unexpected fashion when he found his side bottom of the league in February 2015. They turned it around and finished seventh, but Klopp felt it was time to move on.
After a few years of sculpting his side to his liking, the German has turned Liverpool into one of the best sides in the world – the current European champions are top of the Premier League and have won every game so far this season.
He will be hoping that he can capitalise on this and end Liverpool’s 30-year wait for a domestic title.
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Simeone shares Klopp’s pain
Klopp and Simeone are both renowned for their passionate touchline antics and their immediately recognisable playing styles, but a huge problem they have both experienced frequently in the past is the loss of their star players.
At Dortmund, Klopp lost young superstar Mario Gotze and main striker Robert Lewandowski to title rivals Bayern. At Liverpool, Philippe Coutinho swapped Liverpool for Barcelona – although this has proved more detrimental for the player than the club.
Simeone’s career at Atletico has been plagued by his best players moving on: Antoine Griezmann, Lucas Hernandez, Diego Godin and Rodri are four key players who all left in the space of a few months last summer.
Despite their captain and star forward leaving, it is Hernandez who Simeone claims his side miss the most.
He said: “The player exit this summer that was the most damaging for us was that of Lucas Hernandez
“He was a kid of ours, from the youth system, he was one of us – just like Saul [Niguez], Koke, Thomas [Partey]… Lucas came along at the same time as Thomas, those players are important.”