Bild: citypress

The players must dictate the game

Jürgen Klinsmann talks about the training camp in Orlando, the responsibility of the players, team planning, and his medium-to-long-term ambitions for the club.

By this Monday (06.01.20) Hertha will have completed half of their training camp in Orlando, Florida. Under the guidance of coach Jürgen Klinsmann, the players have undergone long, fitness-intensive sessions in the morning followed by short afternoon sessions in the weights room. The players can expect to follow a similarly demanding schedule until Thursday afternoon local time, where they will leave the training camp. It is still too early to make final judgements, but the coach believes the camp has been successful so far. Speaking to members of the media on-site, the head coach spoke about his relationship with the squad, team management, and his ambitions for the club. The group interview was recorded by

Jürgen Klinsmann on...

...a team trip: Lars Windhorst invited us onto his boat in St. Petersburg, which was an invitation we were very happy to accept. We spent a couple of hours there and had a nice dinner together. It was fun and relaxing, and also a nice change of pace and reward for the players because of allthe hard work they’ve done in training. Lars Windhorst also enjoyed getting to know the players and us as a group personally.

...Eduard Lowen’s loan deal: Eduard is talented, no question, but he needs playing time. This was not something we could guarantee, especially with the signing of Santiago Ascacibar. We have two players competing for each position on the pitch, and we have even more depth in central midfield. Edu noticed this issue and asked us if he were allowed to speak to other clubs. I do prefer it when players who are unhappy with their situation come straight to me to find a solution. Who knows, maybe he will play for Hertha again in the future.

...competition in the squad: It is a timeless struggle in football around the world. In our situation it is important that we first get stability in the squad and focus on making our scoring more consistent. The players who are still awaiting their chance need to prove in training that they are better than the regular starters. This is a standard competition that we coaches observe in training every day. Ultimately, the better player will be the one playing.

 ...changes in the squad: We have a squad at the moment that appears a bit too big. In January there will be some movement and we’ll keep looking in the meantime. But no matter what happens until the 31st of January, we should only get players that can help us directly. If a new signing should come into the fold, then it should only be as a clear improvement on what we have already.

...The training in Orlando: The boys are doing really well, I’m really proud of them. The boys have gotten a better understanding of what we expect from them as a coaching team. They know what we expect from them, and how they should play in position 1a or 1b. And we are getting to know them better too. When the work is finished, we hand over responsibility to the players. These are adults, after all, what they do is up to them. For example, they are free to eat at the hotel, or at the training camp, we don’t give them exact specifications. Ultimately, the players have to realize that they decide how far they can go in their careers. As a player, it was good for me to have coaches who gave me free rein. It meant I knew that I was responsible for my actions as a player.

...His interaction with the players: My conversations with the players are integral to the job. The decisions on the pitch are made by the players. The coach sets up the tactics and the lineup, and can shout something from the side or intervene at half time, but ultimately it is the players who dictate the game and decide whether they pass, dribble or shoot. We in the coaching team want to encourage the players to be able to think for themselves. The boys won’t always make the right decisions, as we all make mistakes, but that’s part of the process. It’s important that they set goals for themselves. For example, Davie Selke must try and score more goals, and Marvin Plattenhardt must try his best to earn a spot back in the national team.

...Difficult decisions as a coach: It is difficult for any coach to tell players bad news, but it is part of the job. It is important to do this one-to-one, look the player in the eye and stick to your guns. As a coach, I do this based on my own judgement, even if everyone else has a different opinion. That’s football.

... the changes in football: I became a professional footballer at 16 and now have almost 40 years of experience in this business. I know what's going on in football and how it's developing - in Germany and abroad. There are standards that are set automatically that come down from theUEFA Champions League. National coaches at a World Cup or European Championship base their tactics on the top level of play of the past season. In this regard, I am always up to date withmy network, with whom I exchange ideas and information.

 ... the upcoming second half of the season: When I started here at the end of November, our situation was difficult. And let's not kid ourselves, things are going to be difficult. The goal remains to escape the bottom of the table as quickly as possible. When I work on a project, I do my best and if necessary, I make minor or major changes. If not, so much the better. But if that doesn't work, you have to question everything and rethink. This doesn't necessarily mean that everything has to be changed, but often it is just making individual changes.

...his ambitions for Hertha: I have had a lot of fun here, I fully support the club’s medium- to long-term goals. I would like to restate that Hertha BSC is a big project! Berlin deserves to have a big club. I played in cities like London and Milan, where the importance of a club in the city is huge, and Berlin deserves that too. If I can help to achieve that, then that’s great. But that is dependent on the people involved, not least the players, the ones in charge, and the fans. Of course, such a change won’t happen overnight, but if everything is carefully planned and thought through and we implement it with purpose, it is possible to achieve a lot within three years and get into Europe. But the key is also to build consistency and then validate the ability of the club internationally. The top 12 in Europe play in three competitions during the week and on the weekend. But for now it's all about collecting as many points as possible in the second half of the season!

Teams, 06.01.2020