“In the first part of my career as a manager, I spent a lot of time on tactical, technical and physical understanding – everything to do with players’ performance.
When my time at Universidad Católica came to an end in 1996, over the following two and a half years I assessed the positives and negatives and I spoke to a lot of the players that I’d managed.
I think in among what you try and learn day in, day out, is that with a group of footballers – human beings – the environment is absolutely fundamental.
On a professional level, you must be able to reach different personalities and bring all these personalities together to achieve a common goal, where everyone feels important, where those who aren’t playing feel like they are playing a part too.
I think the best way, actually, is through the mind. The mind. You can try and flick different emotional switches so a player really feels committed to a project.
Usually, the first few days I’m with the players I tell them how I work with a group, not just on the pitch but off the pitch, too.
For me, there are three things that are totally non-negotiable with players.
First of all, respect. Respect for everything: the club, fans, journalists, coaching staff, directors. Respect among the players themselves, that’s very important.
Second is commitment. I think there are a lot of ways to coach, but you have to get the commitment of the group to your way of coaching.
And third: performance. For me, it is not up for negotiation at all. I try to be as objective as possible. I understand players who aren’t playing can’t be happy, but my demands of them have to be exactly the same.”