Erik ten Hag says he ‘understands’ why out-of-energy Jurgen Klopp is quitting Liverpool after nine years as the Manchester United boss congratulates his rival on an ‘amazing job’
Erik ten Hag says he understands why Jurgen Klopp is leaving Liverpool at the end of the season after nine years at Anfield.
The Manchester United manager praised Klopp for the job he has done in turning Liverpool into Champions League and Premier League winners since taking over in 2015, but admitted the pressure of the job will take its toll on the German has.
“I can understand that,” said Ten Hag. ‘Nine years is a long time. I think it’s a period of building up and reaching targets, but I also think setbacks and difficult periods go in. The Premier League is very intense.
“The combination with European club football, if you are there for nine years, it is a long period and I can understand that he no longer has energy, and this is one of his arguments to retire.”
Klopp’s departure is a blow to United’s arch-rivals, but Ten Hag believes it is not necessarily good news for English football.
Erik ten Hag has sympathized with his Liverpool counterpart Jurgen Klopp after his shock decision to quit at the end of the season
Jurgen Klopp has shocked football by revealing he will step down as Liverpool boss at the end of the season
Klopp has turned Liverpool into a European powerhouse over the past decade, winning seven trophies – including the Champions League in 2019
“It’s not good for the Premier League,” he added. ‘So he made an era there, he built the club, he brought the club back to where they belong, so congratulations on that. He did a wonderful job in Liverpool.’
In a bombshell interview on Friday morning that stunned the sport, the 56-year-old German boss claimed he had ‘no energy’ after winning the Premier League, Champions League, FA Cup and Carabao Cup in nine years at Anfield – and left hints that he will never succeed in football again.
“I will leave the club at the end of the season,” he said. “I can understand that it is a shock for many people at this moment when you hear it for the first time, but of course I can explain it – or at least try to explain it.
‘It’s that I’m, how can I say it, running out of energy. I have no problem now, of course, I’ve known for a long time that I would have to announce it at some point, but I’m perfectly fine now. I know that I cannot do the work again and again and again and again.
Klopp’s admission of burnout mirrors when he left his former club Borussia Dortmund after his wife, Ulla Sandrock, played a major role in his departure.
Klopp was asked about Ulla’s influence on his resignation – and said she was ‘happy’ with his decision. She was also integral to him signing a new contract extension in 2022. The couple met while Ulla was working as a waitress in a bar in Munich before they married in 2005.
“I had to explain it, of course I had to,” he said. ‘It wasn’t like, “Oh, thank God”. You must not misunderstand. Not at all.
‘Of course Ulla wants me to do well and go well, and when she realized I was really clear about that – and she knows I don’t take these kinds of things lightly – she’s happy for me, that I’m happy with the decision. Because that’s the truth.’
Jurgen Klopp’s wife Ulla played a big role in his decision to leave his old club Dortmund and influenced his call to leave Liverpool too
Klopp said he informed the club of his decision to quit in November – and that he revealed it while discussing transfer targets for next summer.
‘When we were sitting there talking about possible purchases, the next summer camp and whether we could go anywhere, the thought came up: ‘I’m not sure if I’ll be here anymore’ and I was surprised by that myself,’ he said.
Klopp even revealed the possibility that he could retire from football management altogether – but said he needed more time before making a final decision.
‘If you ask me, “Would you ever work as a manager again?” I would say no now. But of course I don’t know how it would feel because I never had the situation.
‘What I know for sure – I will never, ever manage another club in England other than Liverpool, 100 per cent. It’s not possible. My love for this club, my respect for the people is too great. I couldn’t. I couldn’t think about it for a second. There is no chance.’
The president of Liverpool owner Fenway Sports Group has expressed his gratitude to Klopp for his achievements at the club and said plans are already underway to ensure the Reds succeed when the German leaves.