November 21, 2016
LOOKING UP AND PUTTING CRITICS DOWN
Report: Klinsmann's optimistic about position, but says critics don't understand soccer or USMNT
Saying he was not afraid for himself while putting down his detractors, U.S. national coach Jurgen Klinsmann told The New York Times he was very comfortable as coach in the wake of back-to-back World Cup qualifying losses within five days earlier this month.
|Jurgen Klinsmann: “The fact is, we lost two games. There is a lot of talk from people who don’t understand soccer or the team.”
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
“I’m not afraid,” Klinsmann was quoted by the newspaper in Monday's edition. “What you need to do is stick to the facts. Soccer is emotional, and a lot of people make conclusions without knowing anything about the inside of the team or the sport. I still believe we will get the points we need to qualify, and I am even confident we could win the group.”
Klinsmann has been under fire since the Americans dropped a 2-1 decision to Mexico at home Nov. 11 -- the first home loss in 15 years -- and a 4-0 defeat at Costa Rica Nov. 15. The results left the USA in sixth and last place in the CONCACAF hexagonal in the race for the 2018 World Cup in Russia. The top three sides receive automatic berths, while the fourth-place team will face the five-place team from Asia in a special playoff.
“The fact is, we lost two games," Klinsmann told Times reporter Sam Borden in a telephone interview Sunday night. "There is a lot of talk from people who don’t understand soccer or the team.”
Many U.S. soccer fans and members of the media have called for Klinsmann's firing.
The Times story was Klinsmann's first interview since the two losses. After the Costa Rican onslaught, Klinsmann flew to his native Germany to attend a dinner with President Obama and German chancellor Angela Merkel.
Klinsmann is expected to talk to U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati in the next few days.
The USA's next qualifier isn't scheduled until March 254 against Honduras at a venue to be determined.
Klinsmann's tenure as coach -- he took over for Bob Bradley in 2011 -- has been mired by controversy and in the last year and a half by uneven performances. The Americans finished a disappointing fourth at the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup, the team's poorest home performance in the competition ever, losing in the semifinals and third-place match. They also lost the CONCACAF Cup, a special playoff against Mexico that determined which team would represent the confederation at the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup in Russia.
And now the abysmal start to the hexagonal campaign.
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