After my first season as assistant at Nordsjælland, I had the chance to become head coach. I took it, and I was there for five seasons as head coach. It was a hugely enjoyable time.
Nordsjælland is a very young club, and had never won anything before we won our first Danish Cup in 2010. The first trophy is always the most difficult one to get, but it is also the one that creates history.
Among the management and staff, we had said that if we could get that first trophy, it would show the players and the fans what was possible. That win laid the path for what happened in the following seasons: we won the cup again in 2011 (above); then, after I left, Kasper Hjulmand did a wonderful job with the players to win the league in 2012.
That was important for the club, and they are still doing very well now. With the resources they have and the way they do things, they are different to other Danish teams. But they believed in me when I was a young coach, and I will always be grateful for the chance they gave me to be in charge of a top-flight team.
“Today, everything revolves around mobile phones. As a coach, you have to remember that”
Football has changed a lot in the 10 years or so since I started coaching. It has become faster, even in that short space of time. It’s more intense now, at the highest level. Staff have grown in number. When you’re a head coach or manager, you’re now in charge of more people.
It’s amazing to go into a Premier League set-up and see how it is. In 2013, I was there as an assistant to Michael Laudrup at Swansea: so many coaches, people analysing, staff in all sorts of roles. I can only imagine the number of staff at the bigger clubs.
In Denmark, we don’t have the financial capacity to have staff that size, but numbers have still grown. Ten years ago, I was doing all the editing of videos myself, then sending it on to the players! Now, with more technology available, you have to get more people in to take care of that.
Society has also changed. Ten years ago, players and staff didn’t have the same possibilities with their mobile phones. Everything revolves around them today, and as a coach you have to remember that.
It may seem like a small thing, but if you have international players from South America, say, you have to think of the time difference when it comes to them speaking to their family and friends back home. If they are in Europe, they could be up late on their phone or social media when you want them getting a good night’s sleep. That can have an impact on performance.