Nagelsmann urges Germany to harness the 'privilege of pressure'

AFP , Thursday 13 Jun 2024

Germany coach Julian Nagelsmann said his side needed to use the pressure of hosting Euro 2024 to their advantage ahead of Friday's tournament opener against Scotland in Munich.

Germany coach Julian Nagelsmann leads a training session in Herzogenaurach, Germany Tuesday, June 11, 2024. AP


This summer's hosts are three-time winners of the European Championship but have endured a poor time since reaching the semi-finals at Euro 2016.

Since that tournament, the Germans were eliminated twice at the group stage of the World Cup, and lost to England in the last 16 at the Euros in 2021.

Admitting to being a "little nervous" ahead of his first game coaching Germany at a major tournament, Nagelsmann said he told his players to embrace the pressure in front of their home fans.

"I think it's normal that you feel a little bit of pressure before a tournament and before important games like these," the 36-year-old told reporters on Thursday.

"Ultimately for me it's the most important theme, when I speak with my players, that pressure is a form of privilege.

"We need to simply enjoy being on the pitch. That's very important. Our players started playing when they were young. They love it (football).

"If you do it that way, you're doing it right."

"We will work out the pressure and we will work out Scotland," he added.

Nagelsmann shed light on the process of bringing veteran midfielder Toni Kroos, who retired from international duty in 2021, back into the squad. Nagelsmann revealed it took a while to convince the 2014 World Cup winner to return.

"It took a period of time to convince him because he wanted to know what we'll change in the future," explained Nagelsmann.

"He said he'll only be part of the team when he feels we can win, so he wanted to know how we'll change the team.

"Then he said he'll be part of it and 'let's rock'."

Nagelsmann was wary of Scotland, saying Steve Clarke's side were not the "kick and rush" team of the past.

"They have flair and good physicality. They may not be full of superstars, but that can make them dangerous."

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