Premier League English

Jurgen Klopp’s ‘true love’ and the differences between him and Alex Ferguson explained

Shinji Kagawa had totally different experiences working with Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp at Borussia Dortmund and Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United.

The former Manchester United midfielder says working with Jurgen Klopp was some kind of ‘destiny’ – having won two Bundesliga titles under Klopp at Borussia Dortmund – claims the differences between the German and former United doyen Sir Alex Ferguson were ‘stature’ and the demands placed on experienced players.

The 31-year-old, currently representing PAOK in Greece, told Laureus Sports:

“There are so many memories with Jurgen Klopp that it’s hard to pick just one. But if I were to describe him, he is a manager that has true love for his players.

“He’s always thinking about his players, supporting them in important ­moments when they’re on the pitch.

“So, as a player, I was always able to take to the pitch without any concern. I always felt there was nothing to fear as long as I followed his lead. That’s the type of manager he was.”

Kagawa continued:

“I look back on my encounter with Klopp as a form of destiny. I hadn’t experienced failure and I was full of confidence and drive.

“I felt like everything was so easy. Of course, I learned later on in my career that things aren’t so easy and my confidence was broken. Looking back, meeting Klopp and playing for Dortmund was a truly amazing experience for me.”

Kagawa and Dortmund hoisted the Bundesliga trophy in consecutive seasons after being brought to Germany from native Cerezo Osaka in a £275,000 deal by Klopp, and was then subsequently snapped up in a £12m move by United and admitted experiencing several of the famous Ferguson ‘hairdryers’ in his sole season working with the Scot before the latter retired.

Kagawa added:

“Unlike Jurgen, Sir Alex was a manager that everyone knew.

“Jurgen was still a young manager and did not have any titles under his belt, so while he was very well known in Germany, he wasn’t known around the world.

“But everyone knew Sir Alex Ferguson and respected him, so I had no hesitation in taking up the opportunity to play for him.

“When Sir Alex shouted at half-time and players like Wayne Rooney, Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes weren’t able to say a word back, I realised he was a man of great stature.

“I also noticed that he demanded a lot from the more experienced players over the youngsters like myself. This was his style of management.

“I saw for myself that he would turn bright red when he yelled. He would really let it out at every single game. It was allowed because he was Sir Alex.”