LONDON • Former Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson said Liverpool's Jurgen Klopp thoroughly deserved his success this season and was even willing to forgive the latter for waking him up in the early hours of the morning to announce his league triumph.
Klopp was presented with the Alex Ferguson Trophy on Monday after being named the League Managers' Association (LMA) manager of the year for guiding the Merseyside club to their first top-flight title in 30 years.
The title was sealed when Chelsea beat Manchester City 2-1 on a Thursday night late last month, but Klopp clearly waited a few hours before getting in touch with the sometimes gruff Scot.
"I will forgive you for waking me up in the morning at half-past three to tell me you won the league. Thank you," a jovial Ferguson, a five-time LMA winner, said in a congratulatory video. "You really thoroughly deserved it. The performance level of your team was fantastic. Your personality runs right through the whole club. I think it was a marvellous performance."
The Scot, who made good on his pledge to knock Liverpool off their perch by leading United to 13 titles from 1993 to 2013, enjoys a good relationship with Klopp and once sounded out the German about succeeding him at Old Trafford.
Former Borussia Dortmund boss Klopp opted to go to Anfield in 2015 instead and has gone from strength to strength. His team are also the reigning European and world champions.
He told Sky Sports: "I'm absolutely delighted to get this wonderful trophy, it's really wonderful. I saw who won it before, some really big, big Liverpool names involved, not only Liverpool names like Bill Shankly I think, Bob Paisley, Joe Fagan and Kenny (Dalglish) whose name seems to be all over the trophy. Brendan (Rodgers) also won it, which was well deserved."
Chris Wilder, last year's winner, settled for the runner-up spot this time after Sheffield United's impressive first season back in the Premier League.
Klopp also pipped Leeds United boss Marcelo Bielsa and Wycombe Wanderers manager Gareth Ainsworth to the prestigious award, voted for by their peers, and the 53-year-old credited his coaching staff and players.
"I'm okay as a manager, but they make us a really special bunch of football brains and I love to work with them together," he said. "Pep Lijnders, Peter Krawietz, John Achterberg, Vitor Matos and Jack Robinson - it's a pleasure. I could carry on with the list because we have so many great people here who make it happen.
"To my players, I take this and I love it for all of us."
I'm okay as a manager, but they make us a really special bunch of football brains and I love to work with them together.
JURGEN KLOPP, sharing his award with his coaching staff.
NO HARD FEELINGS
I will forgive you for waking me up in the morning at half-past three to tell me you won the league. Thank you.
ALEX FERGUSON, former Manchester United manager, congratulating Klopp.
REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE