Ahh… how to dispel the rancid smell of a home defeat to the worst team in the Premier League?
Well, we’ll start with the tried and trusted refusal to answer the question.
Interviewer: “Jurgen, can we go back to the start of the second half and Swansea take the game away, how did that happen?”
Klopp: “Can we go back to the second half? I don’t know, in the first half…..”.
Complete with shoulder shrugging and eyeball rolling, Klopp is now free to tell his own story of the first half.
A story of “4-5 moments like it should be”, a game that was “as we expected” and one in which “we knew we had to stay patient”. There were “3,4,5 chances to score a goal” and all that was lacking was “the final punch.”
Having re-established his – and his team’s competence – we can now analyse the goals; or not as the case may be.
“The first goal I only saw it in the game…I have no idea how this happens ….the second goal…..these things happen.”
Clearer is Klopp’s pleasure at his own team’s goals.
It’s emphasised through his use of Anaphora, repeating his words at the beginning of successive clauses; “We deserved the first goal, we deserved the second goal.”
The ending – given the score line – is however one of confusion; “3rd goal, I have no explanation for how this happens, at the end one man is free in our box and this makes no sense.”
Leadership communication lesson
A leader will receive difficult questions in public. Klopp’s repetition of part of the question buys him some thinking time, lulls the audience into an expectation that he will answer the question and his use of “I don’t know” is far less confrontational than a “no” would have been. Repeating parts of a question is a simple technique any leader can learn from.