Hoffenheim coach Julian Nagelsmann does not fear a lack of respect from his senior players after the 28-year-old was appointed as Huub Stevens’ replacement on Thursday.
The former Under-19s coach was due to take over as coach at the end of the season but ill-health caused Stevens to end his spell early, with Nagelsmann now becoming the youngest manager in Bundesliga history.
Hoffenheim are seven points adrift of safety in 17th – level on points with rock-bottom Hannover – and Nagelsmann begins his reign with a trip to fellow strugglers Werder Bremen on Saturday.
Asked about his ‘Mini-Mourinho’ nickname, Nagelsmann told reporters: “Well, Tim Wiese once gave me that name. I think there is a big difference [between us] and I don’t know Jose Mourinho in person.
“The elder players were very open with me. I am used to having an open relationship with everybody. I am no dictator. I don’t fear a lack of respect from the elder players.
“A big praise goes to Huub Stevens. We had intensive contact and talked a lot. I will stay in touch with him.
“We were educated in working with the media, too. They give you good tools and I hope I will handle this task well.
“We cannot define ourselves by the situation we’re in. We have to define us by the way we play and then we will reach a better situation.”
Stevens twice rescued Stuttgart from the Bundesliga drop having taken over midway through the last two campaigns but was denied the chance to repeat his rescue act with Hoffenheim.
Nagelsmann has 14 games to stave off a return to the second tier and added: “I have had respect for every task in my life, but I was never scared.
“That is how I approach this situation, too. I want to look into the future and that started with yesterday’s training.
“I want to put my energy into the things that come and I do not look into the past. It is very important to have confidence. As much as it is in the business world, it is in the Bundesliga.
“Time is limited, I can’t perform a miracle. It is about building up the players’ confidence, encouraging them. The players will learn new things. Let’s talk after Bremen as to whether that has worked.”