Jurgen Klopp marvelled at a pack of his Liverpool players’ capacity to hunt down a Leeds United player in stoppage time of a recent victory at Elland Road.
And now St Johnstone interim manager, Steven MacLean, has seen his Perth players show that same sort of late-game desire.
AMAZING KLOPP RESPONSE TO LIVERPOOL PRESSURE 😍😍 Reds boss falls out of his chair in ecstasy over his side's defending against Leeds. German will always be a Gegenpress Guy at his core.pic.twitter.com/60uGSn8Hy1
— Men in Blazers (@MenInBlazers) April 17, 2023
The first thing MacLean did when he got his squad back to McDiarmid Park after their 1-1 draw with Hibs was remind them how four of them had snuffed out a promising Hibs counter-attack.
It was the perfect example of a non-stop pressing mentality that he believes will be the foundation of Saints’ Premiership survival mission.
“I showed the players footage of that,” said MacLean. “I showed them on the Tuesday morning.
“It was Adam Montgomery, Jamie Murphy, Stevie May and Drey Wright.
“There is your non-negotiable.
“If someone does something wrong, you run back and help your team-mate out.
“You encourage them to work for their team-mates.
“That is what football is about – helping each other out.”
Hard to pick a starting XI
Such has been the level of buy-in – on the training ground, in that Hibs match and in a closed-doors game against Hearts – MacLean has got a tough team selection to make for the visit of Dundee United.
“We’ve got ideas across to the players,” he said.
“That was a big thing for me.
“Everybody knows what I’m thinking.
“This week has been a good one as well.
“We have seen enthusiasm, energy levels and they know the way we want to play.
“It is pressure football now. That’s what it is now. These things will help us get results.
“You’re not just playing for your 10 other team-mates. It is your 20-man squad.
“You need everybody in the dressing room and everybody together.
“You are only as good as your subs. It is a collective.
“Everyone is giving me a headache because they have all done well and are bursting to play.
“It is going to be hard to pick a team for this weekend.
“We have a bit of everything in the dressing room.
“If they give us the work-rate and the energy, then we have quality.
“The first bit is the most important and then I’m sure the quality will come through.”
Meanwhile, Alex Mitchell returned to training on Wednesday and “looked good”, MacLean reported.