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***THREAD: Nagelsmann Interview***

German magazine „kicker“ published an interesting interview with Julian Nagelsmann. It’s quite a long text. I translated most of it by the best of my abilities.
(1) 31-year-old Naglesmann about 28-year-old Nagelsmann? “Thinking back, I have to chuckle a bit as it was a risky decision. I see a young coach who is already similar to today’s Julian as a person. But he learned that dealing with certain professional players isn’t easy.”
(2) “It’s not always easy to deal with the current generation of players. You can’t say everything that’s on your mind. Although you mean well, you have to be careful. Being approachable isn’t wanted by everybody. I am still like that but not towards everybody.”
(3) “I will start in Leipzig as the same guy like in Hoffenheim. I won’t be an authoritarian. That’s not how I am. I don’t feel comfortable that way. But the longer you work with a team, the more you have to adapt and be stricter because many things become normality.”
(4) “There are always small issues when the coach leaves. There are players with a strong character who totally dismiss that and don’t use it to their advantage. But there are also different players who think more about their ego than about the team.”
(5) “If you use your own expectations as benchmark, you will always be a bit disappointed. You have certain values that you try to project on other people.”
(6) “But I don’t want to make things worse than they were: Overall, we had a team that was easy to lead until the very end. Even then, we played better than the results suggest.
In the last weeks, we couldn’t add to it as many players performed at their limit for 2 or 3 years. Not to forget: Many other clubs were much more stable this season than in the previous ones.”
(7) “I expect a lot. A clear structure on the field – that’s already mentally demanding and not easy to teach, a lot of meetings with a lot of content. At some points, the players might be sick of it. Maybe it’s good for them that something new will come now.”
(8) “Overall, the time at Hoffenheim was exceptional. That sometimes makes you lose the view for reality. You shouldn’t forget who we are. We changed how the club is perceived from the outside.
At the same time, we built a closer connection on the inside as well. I witnessed times when you had to ask as a youth coach whether you could watch the training of the first team and the chief scout denied you.”
(9) “We bought a lot of players for little money, developed them and sold them for more money. That’s something I am proud of (…) We built a club with the potential to compete in Europe from a relegation candidate.”
(10) “Football is a sport that influences the masses. You have an obligation to keep the game attractive. That’s what Hoffenheim stands for. Our football is brave and inspiring. There are few other teams which play like that in Germany. Nobody can argue with me about that.”
(11) About the problems in defense: “I think it’s due to the player selection. We got too few defensive-minded players who really love to defend with all their heart. That’s something you’ll have to work on. Hoffenheim needs more balance in the roster.”
(12) Does Leipzig already have that balance? “We don’t play more offensively than Leipzig but they still concede less goals. They have a different dynamic on many positions – an extremely fast team. They can solve many situations thanks to their tempo.
A lot of these players were developed by RB over a long time to have that desire. If they didn’t have it, they were quickly removed. They were really consequent that way in the past.”
(13) “Also tactical things were the reason for the goals we conceded (…) Because we build up the game to attract opponents, there are a lot of them in our half while we still have numerical superiority. A good situation to prevent counter attacks.
But when you are not good in counterpressing, the opponent automatically has a lot of players high up the field which is then difficult to handle. If a player stops after losing the ball and complains, you will have less players behind the ball.”
(14) Will it be the perfect fit in Leipzig, then? “I hope so. We have to keep the things in place, which they already do well. The style of defending, the clean sheets. That will remain the DNA of RB Leipzig. I won’t make the mistake to solely focus on possession.
I will only add certain components of my idea in possession to create enormous pressure in both phases of the game and to be more variable upfront. If I can achieve this, it will be a great mix.”
(15) Ambitions at Leipzig: “Of course we want to be as high up the table as possible. But we will have to see if this is already possible in the first season. It’s also about development (…) You can’t compete with Bayern based on salaries and fees.
But you can compete for titles with a hungry team. There certainly are younger players who are not ready to go to Bayern, yet, but see Leipzig as a good career step - same with me as a coach.
Of course many will wait and see how it will develop between Nagelsmann and Leipzig. Probably the second year will be more interesting. Until now the only thing that’s clear is: A talented team meets a talented coach. But nobody knows how this will end.
If we can convince as a group, we can be an interesting alternative to Bayern (…) We must try to attack the bigger clubs, so that players say: Well, then I’ll become champion with Leipzig.”
(16) About changing formations: “I saw that it can be an advantage because it makes preparation harder for the opponent. The others realized that as well and consequently, it also became harder for us. But we are still capable of quickly reacting to changes by the opponent.”
(17) Andrej Kramaric complaining about changing formations: “It had to do with the feeling that things got worse due to a change. But when you change, it’s usually because things already don’t work well in the first place.
For a long time, we had the power to use the changes to find our way into the game. Recently that didn’t work as much, anymore. We don’t talk about a change of philosophy during a single game but about small details, for example to gain better access in pressing.
We have to change more often because the opponents also change more often. So, somewhere else Andrej would also need to deal with it.”
(18) Losing stability due to changes: “Players think too much about that. It’s not really a big difference whether you defend as the #10 against the #6 of the opponent or press as the #8 against the full-back of the opponent.
The principles always stay the same. I don’t do it due to some weird mood but to win games. When the opponent suddenly plays with a back 4 instead of a back 3, you have to deal with problems like: Who has to defend against the full-back now? This position wasn’t occupied before.
This is not too much to ask and you have to be able to deal with it if you want to compete against the bigger teams. Unless you are Bayern and individually so strong that you can always do the same. But we are Hoffenheim awon games only due to the quality of individual players.”
(19) Will this stay the same at Leipzig? “I don’t know, yet. I also prefer to always use the same formation and to perfect it. But in football, automatism are quite a difficult thing already from a mathematical point of view as there are a lot of players on a big space.
There can’t be a lot of automatisms if you want to win balls in attractive spaces. We will also have to adapt things in Leipzig because the opponents are capable of doing the same thing.”
(20) How did the training change over the years? “At the beginning, I had to do a lot of small drills to implement the principles. Once the principles are there, you can move on to bigger parts of the field and to tactical patterns.”
(21) About difficulties when working with a new team: “I had the same thing at the beginning in Hoffenheim and it worked well right away. It always depends on how willing the players are to learn. How fast do they understand the meaning behind something?
I take over a team that can already do a lot of things. There isn’t even enough room for huge improvements.”
(22) About foreign coaches in Bundesliga (around half of the teams will have a non-German coach next season): “It’s always good when new ideas and faces enter the league, so it can develop. Hiring coaches is a much more complex thing these days and done more thoroughly than ever.
In the past, many clubs probably made the mistake to hire people that they already knew. One short meeting, one talk at the tactics board and 4 months later you realize: It doesn’t fit after all.
Today scouts look exactly at what the coaches do during games and in training. You also don’t marry your partner after the first date.”
(23) Did Leipzig also scout you as extensively? “Over the course of my career, I had 4 or 5 offers from Leipzig, already as a youth coach. You can’t know me better than Ralf Rangnick or Oliver Mintzlaff (CEO of RB Leipzig) do.”
(24) About the domination of the Premier League and investors in Bundesliga: “All games (in Champions League) were very close. There could have also been a final without a single English team.
But generally we will have to ask the question: Are we open towards new investment models in Bundesliga or not? If not, we will have to accept that the English clubs have more money (…) Another option would be for UEFA to change the rules. But this won’t happen. Why should it?
Football is an economic branch within an open competition (…) Do we want to continue crying about it? Accept it? Or not? Then we have to be more open. Otherwise the gap won’t close itself.”
(25) About VAR: “Generally, I am a proponent of it but some things are a disaster. And if you can’t fix those, you should just leave it as a whole. Some (referees) let everything run, others blow the whistle way too early.
Another thing is: How can you let the referee always run to that screen? This increases the pressure on him even further (...)
The third and decisive aspect: Football is a highly emotional game, exactly because fewer goals are scored than in other sports. When you have to wait after a goal to know if you can celebrate or not, it destroys a lot of things.
Many people can’t even imagine that. All the emotions are gone. We have to be careful that the game doesn’t become too rational.”
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