Liverpool coach Jurgen Klopp has rebutted the notion that players hold any power to sack managers nowadays after Claudio Ranieri’s dramatic exit from Leicester last week.
Klopp responded to ongoing rumours that Ranieri was sacked by the owners because of the players’ dislike of his tactics.
“Players are not more powerful.” He said. “We were much more powerful in the past. It depends always on the board. If there’s a direct way to the board – if the owners sit with the players and as ‘how are you?’ and they say ‘not good’ and it is ‘why?’ – ‘because of the manager’.
“It is not about how powerful. The players need to be powerful but not in sacking managers. They never did it. It’s not like the Leicester players did it or something. It is if someone asked and they gave an answer.
“I have never had this situation. There’s never a direct line to the owner or whatever. As long as the players talk together, there’s no problem. If they start talking about you? For this, you need an ear on the other side.”
Although Klopp lacks experience in player mutiny, his familiarity with Ranieri’s ‘good guy’ approach has raised some sympathy in him. He believes that had the board sacked Ranieri because of players revolting, they would’ve been in the wrong and that ultimately it all comes down to respect.
“I don’t know if it’s a weakness, it’s the situation” he continued, “To maintain the relationship, it’s not like we come together every day and hug each other. We enjoy the work. I know what they want, they know what I want, so it’s very good information.
“It’s pretty simple and being good together is not too difficult. It’s full of respect. As long as they work really hard, I am a really nice person. Not always in training, but I always respect.
“None of the players expect me to let me do what they want. They know someone has to make the rules and, it is long ago I made them, and we have to respect them. It’s good work together.”
But if Klopp has lacked experience in such circumstances, Mourinho, who’s had it similar at Chelsea, was quick to express his support for Ranieri and criticism for the players.