There’s a reason why Jurgen Klopp’s managerial style is so unique.
The Liverpool boss might come across as a charismatic buffoon at times, but behind that vivacity is an extremely well-educated man obsessed with the fine details of the game.
In a candid interview with Goal, Klopp opens up about the intense and often disheartening impact media coverage can have on his players – and how it’s his job to teach them to block out the voices.
And he uses Arjen Robben as a perfect example of how to do just that.
The Bayern Munich winger has arguably got better and better with age after shaking off the niggling injuries that blighted his early career at Chelsea and Real Madrid.
Robben has made the ‘cut inside from the right, score with his left foot manoeuvre’ his trademark, and Klopp recognises how his belief in himself helped his elevation to world class status.
Speaking about external criticism affecting younger players, Klopp said: “What we need to create is where they understand completely that the only criticism they need to take is mine.
“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.
“I will use the example of Arjen Robben. Whatever the world says about him, or thinks about him – he delivers.
“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.”
Robben’s signature move, despite being seemingly choreographed, is almost unstoppable when he’s in full flow and makes him one of the most devastating attackers in world football.
So there’s the advice to young players – if it goes pear-shaped the first time, f*** the haters and keep at it.
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