Burnley fan favourite Steven Defour ended his playing career last May and has been part of KV Mechelen’s coaching setup since the start of this season.
The 33-year-old recently spent a week with the Clarets and upon returning to Belgium, he granted an interview to Het Laatste Nieuws. Various topics were discussed and he also shared his views on current Premier League managers like Chelsea’s Thomas Tuchel and Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola.
HLN’s first question to the Belgian was to detail his latest short spell with Burnley. He said: “It felt like coming home. I still know three quarters of the people there from my period as a player.
“The manager, Sean Dyche, allowed me to follow everything. I attended staff meetings, participated in the preparation for the duels against Man United and Liverpool… ‘So, Steven, what do you think?’ they asked. I learned a lot. Burnley was the best period of my playing career. Both in sports and privately. The fans appreciate me there.”
The ex-Genk man also said he’d been approached by Dyche to be part of Burnley’s pre-season preparation last summer.
“…I have always kept in touch with the coach. I regularly sent Dyche a message before a match. ‘Good luck, gaffer’,” Defour explained.
“Last June, just before I started the season at KV Mechelen as an assistant, he proposed to participate in the preparation in Burnley and then see what was possible, but that was difficult due to the corona restrictions.”
HLN then pressed the Burnley idol to share his thoughts on a few managers, including Guardiola and Tuchel.
Regarding the Manchester City boss, he said: “Absolute top. Just like total football from the Netherlands, so Guardiola has changed football.
“First at Barcelona – the tiki-taka, you know. He continued that at Bayern. His first season at Man City was difficult. Premier League couldn’t just knock everyone out, they said. (laughs) The following year, City played everyone home.”
After heaping praise on Guardiola, Defour didn’t have similar views about the Chelsea manager.
“I think he’s a good trainer, but he likes to argue. The way he handled Lukaku in front of the camera in public, I would never do that,” Defour added.
Earlier this season, Romelu Lukaku questioned Tuchel’s coaching methods at Chelsea and also admitted he wants to return to Inter Milan. This didn’t go down well with the Champions League winners and the Blues striker had to issue a public apology.
Defour was pressed if he has any plans to become the head coach in the future. As of now, he has not made a decision yet.
“I think a lot about which direction I want to go. If I ever want to become the head coach, I have to move everything to the side. Then your freedom is gone. ‘Do I want that?’, is the question I am now asking me,” the ex-Burnley man added.
“Look, at this moment I’m discovering different things. Analyst at Play Sports, for example. I also like to do the podcast ’90 minutes’.”
“As a head coach, you focus on one team and give up a large part of your social life. When I see how much time Wouter Vrancken has in it… As an assistant, I still have some room for manoeuvre. I try to learn as much as possible and start to develop my own vision.”