Ottmar Hitzfeld has praised Thomas Muller’s honesty after he bemoaned his demotion to the Bayern Munich bench, adding that his comments were “very normal”.
Muller was a 73rd-minute substitute for Bayern in their 2-0 Bundesliga win over Werder Bremen on Saturday, missing out on a starting role despite James Rodriguez’s injury.
And the 27-year-old later complained that he does not feel as though his qualities are “in demand” under Carlo Ancelotti.
Hitzfeld – twice a coach at Bayern – has little issue with Muller’s stance, though, claiming it is to be expected from a top player who is out of favour.
“When a player gives an interview, each word is given extra weight,” the 68-year-old told TZ. “In my opinion, Thomas gave a very normal interview without any invective.
“It is a normal statement from a player who has not played. Muller is a role model and he is very popular with the fans.
“He will certainly not be satisfied with the current situation. Thomas is a top performer, a world champion and has a high value. Bayern need Thomas Muller.
— FC Bayern English (@FCBayernEN) August 28, 2017
“If he does not play from the beginning and is approached, he will hardly say that he is happy. Thomas Muller is an honest player and says what he thinks. We should be happy about that.”
Muller’s Germany team-mate Sami Khedira offered his own support in Bild: “Thomas is one of the most relaxed players when it comes to dealing with all this hype.
“I think this is the first time he has announced he is unhappy [with being benched] – and it is a credit to him, that he always aims for the maximum.
“I am not his agent and not his dad, but I think you don’t sell someone like Thomas Muller. Carlo Ancelotti and the Bayern bosses know that.
“With his way of playing, he is unique in the world of football.”