Pep Clotet has been speaking to AS about his current situation with the Covid-19 crisis in English, and his season with Birmingham City.
As part of the chat, the manager was asked about Birmingham City having Chinese owners, and how he can contrast this to other clubs he’s worked at, such as with Massimo Cellino at Leeds United.
Despite Cellino being seen as something of a crazy owner, and picking up the ‘Manager Eater’ nickname along the way, Clotet feels he’s comparable to other club owners he’s worked with: “I have had English owners, an Italian (in Leeds) and now Chinese. Today it is very important for the coach to understand the culture of the owner in order to work with them.
“At Leeds, with Cellino (Italian), was a mentality like ours. With the English, working is relatively easy because they hold roles very well. Instead, the Chinese are very ambitious, they are always thinking about how to improve and it is obviously a very hierarchical culture. This may cause a bit of a shock at first. But then you value it and you have the obligation to know how to work with them.”
Birmingham City’s owners will have been hopeful of a push up the table this season, however, they find themselves in 16th place. That’s nine points away from the play-offs, with hopes being hit as the campaign went on.
At the other end of the table, Leeds United find themselves with a cushion for promotion, and will want the season finished.
When asked his thoughts on how the campaign should end, the Birmingham boss said: “Today, here is a general conviction to finish the championship. It has to be some force majeure to not finish it. But this is a very forceful thing. And health must be above all. Football has a great capacity for entertainment, but here the priority is something else. If together we are able to improve this situation and football can be resumed, the importance of finishing the season is vital.”
Clotet was asked if he’s looking to return to work in Spain to further his career in his home country, and made it clear it’s something under consideration: “After ten years away, you always have in mind to return one day because it is the football you know, the football that has made you… I have now taken influences from Sweden, Norway, England… but Spanish football is everything. I have done very well in England but it is always there somewhere in the head.”