Spurs boss: Why my pressing game is very different to Jurgen Klopp’s
Tottenham head coach Mauricio Pochettino says his pressing game is very different to Jurgen Klopp’s as the pair prepare to meet on the touchline at White Hart Lane.
Both managers like their players to hunt the ball energetically and win it back quickly – and Klopp’s methods helped Borussia Dortmund to win successive Bundesliga titles and reach the 2013 Champions League final.
But, as Liverpool’s new manager gears up for his first Premier League game against Spurs tomorrow, Pochettino says it would be overly simplistic to put their philosophies in the same bracket.
“I think it’s a different pressing,” he said. “If you analyse Dortmund it’s not similar to how we played at Southampton because our pressing was high up, to the opponent’s keeper, but Dortmund play a medium block.
“It’s very strange to compare those two styles - Klopp’s style to mine. We are different. One is not better than the other, we are very different.
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“I think Dortmund were a very physical team. They applied transition very quick and always went forward, but sometimes when you have players to play in this style you can do these counter-attacks. I think it’s different to the way we played in Southampton.
“Why do I prefer our method? It depends - it’s your idea, your culture, how you see the philosophy in your football.
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“I prefer to press high, we believe we can press the keeper. Other managers believe it is better to press in the medium block or to sit deep and hit on the counter-attack. This is how you feel, what you believe and how you develop your style.”
So far this season Tottenham have covered more ground than each of their opponents in their first eight league games. Indeed, when they beat Manchester City 4-1 in their last home match, Spurs’ players collectively ran more than 10km further than their visitors.
“It’s good, that stat, but football is about winning games, not just about running,” said Pochettino. “It’s true that our style is to press and to run and to show togetherness on the pitch - but then we need to score, we need to play better with the ball than the opponent.
“I think we have a good balance between running and possession. Maybe we are one of the best teams in possession and in our fitness. It’s a very good balance because I think it’s Manchester City, Manchester United and us who have the most possession and we are also in the top for runninng.”
Pochettino accepts the spotlight will be on Klopp tomorrow – although he is unsure whether that will benefit his side.
“Who knows?” he said. “I think the focus is on us too because we play at home and the fans want us to win the game.
“But I understand the focus is on the new Liverpool manager, a big name at a new club and the expectation at Liverpool. The first game for a new manager always gets the attention.”
Spurs’ head coach is expecting Adam Lallana - who played for him at Southampton - to be a big asset for Klopp.
Lallana is a great, unbelievable player,” said Pochettino. “He can adapt his skill in different styles. For me, Lallana is one of the best players in England.”
Follow me on Twitter @BenPearceSpurs