New Saints director to give Pochettino space

Last Updated: Sun, 23 Feb 2014 14:24

Incoming Southampton director Ralph Krueger has insisted that he will not interfere with Mauricio Pochettino's running of the team.

The 54-year-old Canadian-born executive is set to join a new-look Saints board, also featuring Austrian football agent Josef Lenhart, when he returns to Southampton from Sochi where he has been scouting for the Olympic Gold Medal-winning Canadian ice hockey team.

Saints owner Katharina Liebherr turned to Krueger, a former coach of the Switzerland national ice hockey team and NHL side the Edmonton Oilers, following the exit of Nicola Cortese.

Although known for his management and leadership expertise, he insists he won't get involved in team affairs.

In an interview he has given in Sochi he said: "It's a question of continuing to grow what's already there, it's not about rebuilding anything. 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."

He added: "I know this will be a difficult situation, but that's what makes it exciting and challenging.

"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.

"Everything needs to happen naturally. There need be no rush on either side. Pochettino needs to focus on all the important games coming up and I need to make space for him to do his work. He's a very honest, strong personality with strong values. He should feel comfortable."

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