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Philippe Coutinho explains Hansi Flick’s tactics, his admiration for Müller, and Lewandowksi’s form

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The Brazilian gave a direct insight into the tactical changes that have helped Hansi Flick turn Bayern Munich into a dominant force in its past three games.

Vilshofen Rot Weiss v FC Bayern Muenchen Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Bongarts/Getty Images

Bayern Munich have had an incredible few games under the supervision of interim manager Hansi Flick, bringing home a total of 9 points from three matches. It did not take much time for Flick to gain the respect and trust of the club and the supporters. In an interview given to TZ, Philippe Coutinho shared his thoughts about the new coach and a few of his team-mates.

When Niko Kovač stepped down, most people were unsure whether Flick was capable of doing the big job. So far, though, he has proven that he is indeed the right man. Coutinho talked about how the players are easily able to follow the tactics and connect with the coach. He said (TZ):

Overall the team understands really well how to implement what the coach asks of it. Pressing without the ball is very important to him. We run at the opponent early and in organized fashion, and thus give him major problems. It was a surprise that it worked so quickly and so well.

Things have fallen into place and it is all working well on and off the pitch in Munich. Coutinho thinks that the tactics that Flick encourages are the major reason why he has been able to turn things around so fast. He said:

I think the reasons are primarily tactical in nature. The coach attaches enormous importance to compact, coordinated, and at times high pressing, so that the opponent cannot even come into the game. In the end, of course, it’s up to us players to implement everything on the pitch, but we understood how he ticks and what he wants from us right from the start — both on the pitch and in the locker room. That’s why it’s working and we’re all happy.

Before taking up the tough job, Flick already had very good connections with the players. It is important for every player in a team to know how important his individual presence is, and 54-year-old makes sure his players know their worth:

He already got along with us very well as assistant coach. That of course pays off. He has the talent of making every player understand at any time that he is an important piece of this structure. At first glance, that might not seem all that important, but in the end it’s the basis for everything that happens on the pitch.

One of the most discussed topics after Coutinho signed for the club has been the future of Thomas Müller. Under Kovač, after the arrival of the Brazilian, the the Bavarian received far less playing time. Most fans were worried it might be the end of the Müller era at Bayern. Things now have gone in a different direction after Flick took the wheel.

There is no bad blood of any sorts between the two players and Coutinho expressed his admiration for Müller in the interview. Coutinho emphasized how they now complement each other:

That’s how it is. I always said so, after all. Thomas is a magnificent and very important player for FC Bayern. He has everything — talent and experience — that makes him a fundamental player on this team. I have my strengths, he has his - the only thing that counts, after all, is that we all combine them for FC Bayern.

Robert Lewandowski has been having a phenomenal season so far and the Pole keeps improving his stats game after game. He was on a goal-scoring streak with 16 goals from 11 league matches, which ended on Saturday. Coutinho commented on his teammate’s remarkable form and said that you cannot weigh Lewandowski’s performances just by looking at the number of goals he has scored:

The form he is in right now is incredible. At some point a game had to come along in which he didn’t score - but reducing his performance to goals wouldn’t do him justice. I’m of the opinion that Lewy was incredibly important for our victory in Düsseldorf. He locks down the opposing lines of defense, runs as the first player back on defense and penetrates deep, which in possession immediately creates space for others.

The Bavarians are travelling to Belgrade for their Champions League face-off against Crvena Zvezda and we’ll have to wait and see if Flick can extend his winning streak.