Niko Kovac opens up on difficulties he faced at Bayern Munich.
After parting ways with Bayern Munich in November, Niko Kovac is back in football. The Croatian manager was appointed as the manager of AS Monaco last month. Kovac had been numerous clubs since leaving Die Roten.
Kovac was rewarded for his good work at Eintracht Frankfurt by landing the job at Bayern. Despite an up and down debut season, the Croatian managed to steer the club to a domestic double. He became the first person to win domestic double with Die Roten as player and manager.
The second season started poorly with a defeat against Borussia Dortmund in DFL Club. Kovac’s men couldn’t recover from that defeat and struggled in the Bundesliga. The embarrassing 5-1 loss against Eintracht Frankfurt was the final nail in the coffin for Kovac.
The Croatian manager was under constant pressure throughout his tenure in Bavaria. Speaking to L’Equipe (via Sport1) this week, Kovac opened up about the problems he faced while making team selection at the German club. However, he admitted that the experience in Bavaria would help him to become a better manager.
“If you don’t play, you’re unhappy. And if you’re a star and you don’t play, you’re very unhappy and the pressure on the coach is bigger. It’s not easy to manage, but we were there to win titles and we won three”
“I understood what happened and it will benefit me.”
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Kovac is hinting at the problem he faced when he kept Thomas Muller out of the starting XI. The German forward was struggling to get playing time as Philippe Coutinho was operating in the number ten role. Lack of playing time eventually lead to speculation as Muller was reportedly contemplating a move away from the club.
The results on the pitch didn’t help Kovac’s cause. He had to face the brunt for the team’s poor performances. After his departure, Muller got back into the lineup and became one of the best-attacking midfielders in Europe this season, currently sitting at 22 assists across all competitions. He went on to sign a new contract with the club to see out his final years of his prime in Bavaria.
Kovac and Muller were not at fault in this situation. It is bound to happen that a manager prefers one player over the other. The German forward also acted as a thorough professional during the tough period at the club this season.
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While looking back at his 18 months in Bavaria, Kovac can still be considered a success. He helped the likes of Robert Lewandowski and Serge Gnabry to get better. Trophies accompanied during the period of transition as veteran players were on the fringes. It was not perfect managerial tenure, neither it was a complete disaster. Kovac is still a young coach, so he is likely to get better with time. His comments don’t come across as bitter. It is more about acknowledging his time at the club and learning from this experience.