Soccer-Southampton call on Sochi ice hockey guru for help

Reuters

Feb 24 (Reuters) - Southampton have enlisted ice hockey coach Ralph Krueger to support manager Mauricio Pochettino after he helped Canada win a gold medal in the men's event at the Sochi Winter Olympics.

The Canadian-born Krueger, who is a former Germany ice hockey player, has been appointed by the Premier League club's owner Katharina Liebherr, according to British media reports.

Southampton have brought in experts from other sports before with former chairman Rupert Lowe employing ex-England Rugby World Cup-winning coach Clive Woodward nine years ago.

Krueger, who has never worked in soccer but has known the Liebherr family for many years, has been working as a consultant to Canada's ice hockey team and has also coached Switzerland's national team and the Edmonton Oilers in the NHL.

"Katharina is a woman of such strong values, and she has a fresh and interesting perspective to sports," the 54-year-old Krueger was quoted as saying by British media on Monday.

He has been given a role in a restructured management team at Southampton after chairman Nicola Cortese resigned in mid-January after differences with the club's owners.

Southampton are ninth with 39 points from 27 matches after a successful season under Argentine Pochettino, who was appointed just over a year ago to replace the sacked Nigel Adkins.

"It's a question of continuing to grow what's already there, it's not about rebuilding anything," Krueger added on The Daily Mail website (www.dailymail.co.uk).

"I have met the coaching staff and Mauricio Pochettino and spoke to the team. I know exactly what he needs - and I know exactly what he doesn't need.

"He doesn't need someone getting involved in a day-to-day running of the team. He needs space to do his work, so that he can continue to grow the group.

"I get it, I totally get it. I feel the values that drive him."

Krueger, who is also a motivational speaker and author of a best-selling book called 'Team Life: Over Losses to Success', has a reputation for team leadership and management.

"I know this will be a difficult situation, but that's what makes it exciting and challenging," said Krueger, who is now a German citizen. "It's about leadership and management. The sport I come from is irrelevant.

"I've had experience in major league sport and the principles are transferable. I will come in at the level of a well-informed fan and, as far as the team is concerned, I will stay in my place.

"No-one has more information about what's happening with the team than the head coach. I know that. I've been a head coach. I've been confronted with political situations, people without all the information trying to influence decisions." (Writing by Ken Ferris; Editing by Mark Meadows)

View Comments (0)