Michael Appleton relishing clash with ‘best manager in the world’ Jurgen Klopp

Posted Sunday, September 20, 2020 by PA

Michael Appleton relishing clash with ‘best manager in the world’ Jurgen Klopp

Lincoln boss Michael Appleton labelled Jurgen Klopp the best manager in the world as his side prepared to face Liverpool with a Sky Bet League One victory at MK Dons.

Tom Hopper’s late header earned a 2-1 win on Saturday ahead of Thursday’s Carabao Cup clash with the Premier League champions at Sincil Bank.

Jorge Grant’s first-half penalty had earlier been cancelled out by Joe Mason’s controversial leveller where the striker appeared offside.

But in-form Lincoln, who have won four of their opening five matches, recovered to snatch victory with Appleton now ready to pit himself against Klopp.

He said: “At this moment, he’s the best manager in the world. The greatest manager there’s ever been and I’m going to say it because I’m a United fan, is Sir Alex (Ferguson).

“Jose (Mourinho) had a period in that top spot, Pep (Guardiola) has but as it stands now it’s hard to argue if there’s anyone better out there than Jurgen.

“We’re probably going to need a bit of luck. It’s impossible to guess their team but we have an idea of how they play and set up because that doesn’t change. They’re just really good at it.

“Today, we set up really well and punished them on the counter-attack on numerous occasions. We’re only two league games into the season and we’ll get sharper – if we do it’ll put us in really good shape.”

After Mason fired just wide Lincoln took control and went ahead after 11 minutes.

Baily Cargill and Dean Lewington combined to take down Hopper before Grant scored from the resulting spot-kick.

They were sharper than their sluggish hosts and Anderson was denied by Lee Nicholls’ fine stop just after the break.

But the near miss roused the hosts and Mason levelled when he finished past Alex Palmer despite looking offside.

The Dons – the better side in the second half – sensed a winner and Palmer turned Lewington’s low effort wide but they were hit by a sucker punch when Hopper headed in Anderson’s cross with 12 minutes left.

“Once we conceded the first there was too much anxiety, not enough confidence and belief, too many mistakes and too much disappointment when we lost the ball,” said Dons boss Russell Martin.

“In the second half, for the first 25 minutes we controlled the game and I thought once we scored, the minimum we’d get would be a point.

“We gave away a really soft goal which isn’t good enough and it’s cost us at least a point.

“We have to learn quickly and improve on a lot of things. I thought the penalty was the wrong decision.

“We’re disappointed we put ourselves in the position and gave the referee a decision to make but it’s not the reason we lost the game.”


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