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‘Klopp has got the warrior spirit’ – Liverpool boss credited for bouncing back from Premier League title defeat

Turkey coach Senol Gunes has heaped praise upon the German tactician for how he has transformed the Reds into an elite side

Jurgen Klopp has a “no surrender mindset”, according to Turkey head coach Senol Gunes, who has been impressed with the Liverpool manager’s reaction to last season’s narrow Premier League title defeat.

Liverpool went toe to toe with Manchester City for the Premier League crown in 2018-19, losing just one of their 38 fixtures on their way to recording 97 points.

Unfortunately, that solitary defeat – a 2-1 loss at the Etihad Stadium – ended up proving costly, as the City successfully defended their title by finishing just a single point above their main rivals.

Klopp’s men didn’t finish the campaign empty-handed, though, as they stormed to Champions League success by seeing off Bayern Munich, Porto and Barcelona before beating Tottenham in an all-English final.

Liverpool have since built on that foundation by exerting their dominance over the Premier League landscape, opening up a 22-point advantage over City after 26 fixtures of the current season.

The Merseyside outfit have also added European Super Cup and Club World Cup trophies to their cabinet, while advancing to the knockout stages of Europe’s most prestigious competition once again and the fifth round of the FA Cup.

Gunes has credited Klopp for bouncing back from domestic disappointment, describing the German’s “warrior spirit” as the driving force behind Liverpool’s relentless pursuit of silverware across multiple fronts.

When asked to compare Klopp with City boss Pep Guardiola, the Turkey chief told Goal and DAZN: “They are both technically and tactically on a high level. Manchester City finished with 98 points last season. Liverpool added two players to the squad and Klopp used them.

“When manager, management and squad superiority match up, good things happen. If a team loses the championship race at the earliest point [in history], a year after they became champions, there may be problems.

“Football is not like 2+2=4. One team lost but didn’t quit and kept moving. If that team stopped going when they lost, today they wouldn’t get the chance of becoming champions. It’s a good and beautiful lesson.

“Klopp already comes from the German school of ethics. His work and discipline is very clear. He knows his limits and strength. He doesn’t use it in a megalomaniac way. There’s no surrender in his mindset, he’s got the warrior spirit.

“I think the management, coach and players work in a very harmonious way.”

Gunes went on to express his frustration over the format for this summer’s European Championship, which is being held in 12 cities across 12 UEFA countries.

“Unfortunately, it seems to me that Turkey couldn’t be the sole hosts of this tournament because we had demands in the time of [Michel] Platini,” he said. “They have spread the games between 12 cities so they could avoid giving the tournament to Turkey.

“I don’t find it very healthy, but I have to see it. Because the league will be over, the players will have physical and mental fatigue. They will compete in the national team and also will travel. For example, we will go long distance, but Switzerland’s situation is worse than us.”

Turkey have been drawn in Group A alongside Switzerland, Italy and Wales, and will contest the opening match of the tournament against Italy on June 12.

Gunes is looking forward to the challenge, and is hopeful Turkey will give a good account of themselves against Roberto Mancini’s side.

“We will go from Baku to Rome and play two matches. Switzerland will play against Wales in Baku and go to Rome, then return to Baku. This is the situation, we’ll see the pros and cons,” Gunes added.

“Instead of complaining, we will accept it. Our group includes Italy, Wales, Switzerland. Our first match is the opening match of the tournament. This is also a chance for us. The fact that our opponent will play in their home is an advantage for them, but the opening game will be in a very nice atmosphere where players can show themselves.

“The first game of the tournament is just one game. It’s a game everyone watches. No other motivation is needed for the players.

“Of course, we aim to be successful in this competition but, more importantly, besides the sporting achievements, we want to play our own football, with fair play and show it to others. We want everyone to see this.”

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