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Gus Poyet exclusive: Klopp & Liverpool style; Pochettino future; LaLiga v EPL

Former Sunderland and Brighton manager Gus Poyet hailed Jurgen Klopp's 'unique' Liverpool side in an interview with Tribal Football.

Speaking at the UK launch of LaLigaTV on which Poyet will act as a pundit, the Uruguayan said Liverpool's style would be difficult to replicate anywhere else.

"I think its unique," he told Tribal Football when asked if Liverpool's style of play could be replicated in LaLiga.

"You know, I think what Klopp has done in Liverpool is very unique. I don't think you can copy it. A lot of people in the world tried to copy Pep Guardiola. For me they're wrong but I can understand why they tried to copy him. Everybody wanted to play like Barcelona or Bayern Munich. But you don't see many people trying to play the way that Klopp plays because it's not that simple because you have to have certain individuals, individual players in certain positions to be able to produce that."

Liverpool were crowned European Champions last season and are now 16 points clear in the Premier League, with the intense pressing style a crucial factor in their success.

But Poyet feels that while the intensity is higher in the Premier League, the technical play is still better in LaLiga.

"Intensity is higher in England, but technically Spain is better," he explained.

"I mean, to be able to play with high intensity and be very good technically you need to be top, I mean the very top. I think in Spain, for the time I've been as a player and as a coach, there are more players that they think about the game and they do different things during this game. It's not like they follow the plan 100%, so you need to be improvising all the time and you need your players to do the same. So it's a different challenge to managing in England."

The 52-year-old spent seven years in England as player with Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur, before spending a further eight years as a coach.

He also spent seven years in LaLiga with Real Zaragoza as a player, before an ill-fated six-month stint as Real Betis manager.

Since leaving his most recent role with Bordeaux in 2018, Poyet has looked to reflect on why certain roles did and didn't work out for him as a coach.

"As a coach you learn that the Premier League and La Liga are totally different," he said.

"I've been really analysing my bad experience in Spain. Why did it happen and not trying to look for excuses, and at the same time analysing my last period in the Premier League. Like anywhere there are certain things that are similar, the connection with the players, how you want to work with your team and the plan. Then it's just a case of being in the right place at the right time.

"Sometimes we are very lucky when we arrive at a club in the right moment and everything is right or we arrive in the wrong time and you're finished within three months. It's exciting for people to see something different. That was my idea when I left England. I finished with Sunderland and I went abroad because I wanted to see something different. Here we are very focused on England and we know everything about England. So I went to Greece, Spain, China and France, which gave me a totally different view on football."

Poyet's most successful spell as a manager came at Brighton, securing the club promotion from League 1 before guiding them to the Championship playoffs.

However, he still feels that LaLiga offers more variety and that small clubs are less likely to play a certain style.

"You need to show the players that many things can happen during the game here in England," Poyet said.

"For example I always thought, you know when you play at home if you're a top team against a small team, you know what is going to happen. And you know why it's going to happen, sorry that we always named the same teams, but when you go to Burnley on a Monday night, you know how they are going to play. You can go to Villarreal one day and have a very offensive team playing with a typical 4-4-2 system. And a year later, go to the same place, and have a totally different kind of game, totally different team playing a different kind of approach and so you need to pay attention, and you need the players to be ready for that."

Mauricio Pochettino was also a guest at the LaLigaTV launch and Poyet said that the former manager of his old club Spurs would be in line for any top job when they come available.

"Sometimes you need timing," he said.

"I remember they were talking about him when Zinedine Zidane left Real Madrid and now Zidane is back. If that was the option then you're going to have to wait and I don't think Mauricio will want to wait too long. As soon as one of the big clubs loses their manager Pochettino will be there or thereabouts. He should be the first name, maybe Max Allegri and Pochettino, the top two now who go into the next big job."

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William Dodds

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