- After three winless games, Niko Kovac fights against initial criticism of his work as a new Munich coach.
- Before the game against Borussia Mönchengladbach on Saturday (18.30 clock), he opened the press conference with a statement before the first journalists question.
- He also sought a conversation with President Uli Hoeneß after his words: "This was not meant as a criticism, but as a statement".
"Maybe I would like to say something first," says Niko Kovac, and it is already clear that this Friday noon for the coach of Bayern is not like the others before the Munich media. He is sitting in his chair punctually at 1 pm, just like every press conference. Before the first journalist question but he wants to answer now, it should also be an answer to his past one and a half weeks. Kovac fiddles with the microphone.
Bayern have not won three games in a row before the home game on Saturday (18.30) against Mönchengladbach, it is already for the still reasonably new Bayern coach uncomfortable. In the league and in the Champions League, the team is second on the table, in the 1-1 on Tuesday against Ajax Amsterdam, she was not only not better, she was: worse than the opponent. And then there are those sentences from Uli Hoeness, the president, who said to Kovac on the rotation: "It's up to the trainer, he has to decide that, and in the end he has to hold out his head." So that's how the week went before Kovac directed the microphone.
He then does not talk about the victory, not about the bad performance against Ajax, not about the Hoeneß quote. He talks about the perception of his person after the draw against Ajax. He is not a coach, "rausholen the club", which provides "for headlines" right after the game. He is one who thinks about what he is saying, and has "nothing to do with helplessness, but quite clearly that you want to look at all this again." Kovac says: "I wanted to send that off in advance."
Kovac spoke to President Hoeness about his criticism
So, the message Kovac sends ahead is that better nobody ought to underestimate him.
The coach then names what led to the crisis, without of course using the nasty word "crisis". Kovac speaks of a "small phase", caused by "too many slight mistakes". They have also played seven games in seven games, "but now we're making too many mistakes if we're not put under pressure." Recognizing the 1-1 draw with Ajax, Kovac understands how these unfocused things came about: "Because everyone wants to move too fast."
In the statistics he had read that his players had completed many intense runs, including many long runs. "That means that the compactness was not there," he explains. "If you run after it permanently, it will be difficult to get back into your game." This is the criticism Kovac admits. But that the structure is missing? Kovac recalls "what do not I know about superlatives" after the first seven games, he says, "That's a chuckle." (He does not chuckle.) That he let train too lax? He recalls that he used to be considered a coach who prefers too intensive units. "Well, men, it's gonna be fun." (He laughs softly)
Finally, Kovac demonstrates with his analysis of the Hoeneß phrases that Kovac desperately wants to regain the authority to interpret his person. He spoke to the President, "that was not meant as a criticism, but as a statement". The coach, which Kovac presents on Friday afternoon, has still not won three games in a row, but he is now at least again a coach who does not seem at a loss, which is not criticized internally. But whether this is all good crisis PR or really just a small-phase PR, that decides only on Saturday night.