3 Coaching Philosophies To Learn From The Best!

Liverpool, Aston Villa, and Manchester City are the top 3 clubs in the ranking table of the English Premier League at the moment.

The clubs' managers, Jurgen KloppUnai Emery, and Pep Guardiola, are important parts of their success stories. Their leadership, strategies, and approaches in football, not only as a sport but also as a way of life, have contributed to this path of success.

We spotted and present to you one element of each manager's philosophy that could be useful to enhance your way of thinking:

Klopp’s philosophy is to develop a group of players that is greater than the sum of its parts, and he is doing this by giving the players both a methodology, and an intensified sense of belonging.

He calls his methodology gegenpressing (pressing against) — a high-intensity style of play. Previously when a side lost possession of the ball in the opponent’s half of the field, they would fall back, defensively regroup, and close gaps. In gegenpressing, when you lose the ball in the opponent’s half you move further into the opposition’s territory to harass them; this closes off their passing angles and causes them to make mistakes creating more opportunities for your team.

Emery encourages the players to be more demanding. "One of the first things we looked at with the players was the idea of training for training’s sake, training to compete and training to win. Those are three different steps and very often players do them subconsciously.", he explained. 

Emery always tries to suppress the idea of training for training’s sake, boost the focus on training to compete and – most of all – train to win. Training to win is the final competitive step, and that was what was most required in terms of individual development and the development of the team.

Pep is a tactical genius. He introduced 3 tactical innovations at Manchester City:

1. Using a false nine: when a forward drops deep into midfield to create space for other attackers to run behind the defense. Guardiola used this tactic with Lionel Messi at Barcelona, Robert Lewandowski at Bayern Munich, and Sergio Aguero at Manchester City.

2. Using a back three: when three defenders form a line at the back instead of four. Guardiola used this tactic to cope with injuries to his centre-backs or to match up with teams that played with two strikers. He also used this tactic to create more width and depth in the attack by pushing his full-backs higher up the pitch.

3. Using inverted full-backs: when full-backs move into the central midfield instead of staying wide on the flanks. Guardiola used this tactic to create more numerical superiority in midfield or to overload one side of the pitch. He also used this tactic to create more diagonal passing options or to switch the play quickly.