"If you want a headline, we need a good, healthy aggression towards the opposition goal," he told journalists at the German Football Association (DFB) headquarters in Frankfurt, where he signed a contract until after next summer's European Championship on home soil.
"Especially against deep-lying opposition, we need to show the necessary presence in the opposition box, we need to stress the opposition, it needs to be painful to play against us."
It was a familiar statement of intent from a head coach who has developed a reputation for aggressive pressing and a proactive style of play during spells in charge of Bundesliga sides Hoffenheim, RB Leipzig and, until March this year, Bayern Munich. But he's well aware that his new task is very different.
"We want to play attractive football that will excite people beyond just the results, but we're not going to overcomplicate things," he explained.
"A positive atmosphere is important, but it requires a good plan, which can't be as complex as in club football because we simply don't have the same amount of time to study it."
Nagelsmann, who won the Bundesliga with Bayern Munich in 2022, will formulate that plan alongside assistants Benjamin Glück (37), his long-time video analyst, and Sandro Wagner (35), the former German international striker who played under Nagelsmann in Hoffenheim and who led Bavarian outfit Unterhaching to promotion to the third division last season.
"The phone felt hot against my ear when I spoke to Sandro," Nagelsmann joked. "That's how excited he is."
Nagelsmann reunited with Bayern Munich players
Out on the pitch, Nagelsmann will also be reunited with several former players, including RB Leipzig striker Timo Werner and two of his most trusted Bayern lieutenants, Joshua Kimmich and Leon Goretzka.
Other Bayern players may be less enamored about a reunion, such as Thomas Müller, who was far from a guaranteed starter under Nagelsmann, and Manuel Neuer, who clashed with Nagelsmann over the dismissal of the club's goalkeeping coach Toni Tapalovic in January.
"I felt like I'd had my heart torn out," said Neuer at the time. "It was the hardest thing I have experienced in my career."
With Neuer still battling to return from a broken leg suffered while skiing in December 2022, Marc-André ter Stegen will likely be Nagelsmann's preferred choice between the sticks. Nagelsmann also said he will retain Barcelona midfielder Ilkay Gündogan as the team's captain.
"Of course, I'm looking forward to seeing the Bayern players again," said Nagelsmann. "But I'm also looking forward to meeting players from other clubs I've never met."
10 months until Euro 2024: a deal which suits all parties
For Nagelsmann, the 10-month employment comes at an opportune time. Out of work since being sacked by Bayern in March, the 36-year-old now has an opportunity to sample a different type of football management and add another string to his bow.
Should he succeed — "a summer fairytale 2.0 would be ideal," he said, a reference to the 2006 World Cup in Germany — an extension of his contract cannot be ruled out. Should he fail, structural issues at the DFB will be blamed as much as him, but there will likely still be plenty of offers to return to club football.
His name had already been whispered in conjunction with Borussia Dortmund this season after their stuttering start, and yet it was the club's chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke, in his additional role as DFB vice president, who was also involved in identifying Nagelsmann as the number one choice for the national team, along with DFB president Bernd Neuendorf and director of football Rudi Völler.
The short-term nature of the deal also reflects the DFB's ongoing precarious financial situation. Facing a budget deficit of €19.5 million ($20.7 million), the organization announced plans to save €4.5 million in July, with further cuts to come.
Nagelsmann, who was still on the payroll at Bayern Munich, is taking a significant salary cut to take on the role. The Bundesliga champions have reportedly also agreed to waive the €15 million that would have been required to buy Nagelsmann out of his contract, which ran until 2026.
"Bayern have cooperated wonderfully with us and compromised," hinted Völler, while Nagelsmann insisted: "I don't want praise. I'm privileged to be a football coach, and I earn enough money. This is all about the job."
Full focus on Euro 2024
As it is for the DFB as a whole, which, now under new chief executive Andreas Rettig, who succeeded Oliver Bierhoff earlier this week following disastrous recent tournament performances from Germany's men, women and youth teams, is placing its sole focus on Euro 2024.
"The Euros next year are of enormous importance for German football," said Neuendorf. "Our concentration is now fully on supporting Julian Nagelsmann until next summer."
By then, countless new headlines will have been written. Whether they'll be the ones Nagelsmann wants will depend on his success. For now, the headlines he delivered at his unveiling certainly suggest a different Germany team is on the horizon.