Communication is key to any well-run ship, and effective man management is one of the most critical jobs of any football coach — especially at star-studded clubs like Bayern Munich. It’s one area where 35-year-old head coach Julian Nagelsmann is still coming into his own, according to club sporting director Hasan “Brazzo” Salihamidžić.
“Julian is still looking for his style,” Brazzo said in an interview on Sport1, as captured by @iMiaSanMia. “He hasn’t had a squad like this before. He speaks to the players a lot and does it on an equal footing with everyone. Of course he talks more to the leading players. It’s a learning process.
“We are here at Bayern Munich, it’s not that easy. We have so many players who can start games, that’s why talking to everyone so important.”
Nagelsmann is famous for speaking very fast, especially on his tactics, but acknowledged recently that he doesn’t usually seek out individual chats with those not making his lineups. Reading between the lines on some of these recent reports, it seems the bosses are making some effort to make sure those lower in the pecking order — and perhaps less spoken to — are not feeling excluded or ignored.
Another unusual dynamic at Bayern
Nagelsmann is an extremely young head coach. Team captains Manuel Neuer and Thomas Müller are a similar or older age than he is. And with as many options as he currently has for his four forward spots, the caliber of player who will count as a ‘reservist’ on any given day may be the likes of Sadio Mané, Serge Gnabry, Leroy Sané, or Jamal Musiala — not merely starting-caliber, but world-class players in their own right.
It’s a tough balancing act, even with as many fixtures as the team now has between the Bundesliga and Champions League each week. Saturday’s game against VfB Stuttgart was a chance for many players who don’t usually get much game time, but the Bavarians slumped to a dismal 2-2 draw, arguably their worst performance of the season. Nagelsmann will have to juggle competitive demands with the importance of squad harmony and keeping the mood right in the dressing room.