Bayern Munich: Kovac in firing line for Frankfurt fan comments
The Bayern Munich boss has refused to back down after labelling supporters of Eintracht Frankfurt - his former club - as the best in the Bundesliga.
Niko Kovac says he will continue to be honest despite angering Bayern Munich supporters by suggesting former club Eintracht Frankfurt have the best fans in Germany.
Bayern are second in the Bundesliga and needed late goals from Serge Gnabry and Thomas Miller to overcome second-tier Bochum 2-1 in the DFB-Pokal on Tuesday, saving under-fire boss Kovac from further scrutiny.
But Kovac risked backlash speaking after the game as he talked up supporters of Eintracht, Bayern's next league opponents.
Given the opportunity to redress his comments on Thursday, the 48-year-old chose instead to defend his right to have an opinion on such matters.
"I watched three of their [Europa League] qualifying games at the beginning of the season - there was some great choreography and I thought it was great," said Kovac, who won the DFB-Pokal with Frankfurt in 2017-18.
"We also have great fans. I felt that last season, especially towards the end against Frankfurt and also in the cup when my name was chanted.
"I know how important the fans are for us. I did not say we have bad fans - they are also great. But in the big picture, Frankfurt have a great and unique atmosphere unlike anywhere else in the Bundesliga.
"I will not change myself or my character. If honesty is no longer desirable in this day and age, we can pack it in. I will not change."
Kovac questioned the attitude of his players following their comeback win at Bochum and is now keen to see Bayern start games in more impressive fashion.
"[Bochum] had a huge chance after 40 seconds. I expect my side to be ready from the first minute," he said. "We know we have the quality, but we have to work the same as others."
Bayern have won three in a row in all competitions but are seven games without a clean sheet and have struggled to dominate matches as in the past, leading to criticism from chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.
Not since 2008-09 have they conceded more goals in their opening nine Bundesliga matches, and Kovac is working on a solution.
"Football is a sport that is results-oriented, but the best combination is to win and play well," he said. "We are not able to do that right now. We have to gain confidence through small victories.
"If you lose the ball five times, it will be difficult to offer yourself a sixth time and then your knees will start to shake, so you have to try to get into a rhythm right from the beginning."