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Last Updated: Friday, 20 October 2006, 06:35 GMT 07:35 UK
Blackwell learns from Euro visits
By Chris Bevan

Kevin Blackwell
With the amount of European players in our leagues, managers and coaches must find out more about them and their culture

Kevin Blackwell
Former Leeds manager Kevin Blackwell is using his time since being sacked by the Elland Road club to travel Europe learning new coaching techniques.

The 47-year-old, who left last month, told BBC Sport: "I am taking in different methods and brushing up on things for when I get another job.

"Inter Milan have invited me to spend two or three days there and I have watched Lyon and Real Madrid train.

"It is great to watch top class coaches and you never stop learning."

Blackwell, speaking for the first time since leaving Leeds, intends to use those top European clubs as a model for the infastructure he will bring to his next side.

"Through the work I did with Leeds I made some good contacts in Europe," he explained.

"I have already been to Inter last summer and the summer before and they have asked me back.

"I look at a whole raft of things at these places because I tend to try and run a club from top to bottom and have an input from youth level all the way up.

"I like to look at clubs in other countries who operate like that to see how they deal with things at every level."

Blackwell also believes that with the number of foreign players plying their trade in England it is crucial to understand their mindset.

He refuses to rule out taking a coaching post abroad, saying it would be "stupid to close your mind to anything" - but it is clear where he hopes to see the benefits of his expeditions.

"With the amount of European players coming into the leagues here it is incumbment on us as managers and coaches to find out more about them and their culture," said Blackwell said.

"It definitely helps when it comes to integrating players into your club - to have a good idea of their background can only help it happen quicker.

"There are certain things that they do or take for granted that we don't necessarily agree with - it is all about trying to find out how they think and where they are coming from.

"What is the norm to them is not necessarily the norm to us."

Most of what we do is still down to man-management skills - but you try to find an edge anywhere and to dismiss technology and new ideas would be foolish.

Kevin Blackwell

A much-travelled goalkeeper in the lower-leagues, Blackwell was assistant boss at Sheffield United before becoming Leeds' head coach in the Premiership in 2003.

He took charge himself at Elland Road in 2004 but was sacked by chairman Ken Bates on 20 September despite taking the club to the Championship play-off final in Cardiff last year.

Blackwell has vowed not to change his innovative approach to the game when he returns to management.

"Everything you do, you have to anyalyse it afterwards," he explained.

"We analysed everything at Leeds - so much so that when we left Cardiff after losing to Watford we were back at Thorpe Park at 11am in the morning having only got back at 3am.

"I think there are things you always do as a manager and one of them is having an open mind.

"The old style of management is still relevant - most of what we do is still down to man-management skills - but you try to find an edge anywhere and to dismiss technology and new ideas would be foolish.

"So it is really about adapting what is out there - you do not reinvent the wheel, that is for sure.

"The difference now is that the players are phenomenally fit and more athletic so you have to bring in certain technology with that to cope and keep with the pace."

But he is keen to stress he will have learned from his years as a coach and manager with the Blades and Leeds when he returns to football.

"If you are going to change your direction in any way then this is the time to evaluate it," Blackwell said.

"You cannot do that while you are working as a manager because the pressure is on you and sometimes you don't have a chance to breathe let alone do anything else.

"For the last six or seven years at Sheffield United and Leeds we have been at the cutting edge of football, reaching finals, semi-finals and playing in the Premiership.

"When you have been there, that is where you always want to be - so you see if you have to adjust the things you are doing now."



SEE ALSO
Manager Blackwell sacked by Leeds
20 Sep 06 |  Leeds United
Blackwell agrees new Leeds deal
07 Mar 06 |  Leeds United


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