Post-Match Quotes: U.S. Men's National Team vs. France
U.S. Men's National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann and select players discuss the team's match against France.
Nov. 11, 2011
© Howard C. Smith/isiphotos.com
U.S. head coach JURGEN KLINSMANN
“That was probably the real piece that was missing was scoring a goal. From a technical perspective, the shape, working, and really finding a rhythm was good. I told them at halftime ‘guys, you can absolutely compete here. You can go for a win.’ Obviously it was difficult after their goal. In these types of games, if you make one or two mistakes you get punished. It was still impressive how they came back. They pushed forward and were getting close. We made life very, very difficult for France, and they realized after 30 minutes there is a team that has a go at them. Obviously you want to score a couple of goals sooner or later, so I wish there was one or two.”
“We had the pleasure to have Arsene Wenger come into the locker room talking to the players, and he paid them a huge compliment.”
On what is the best strategy to play against a team that is fast, technical and have a lot of the ball:
“If you sit back and react to a team like that, you might once every ten games beat them with a counter-break. I come from a different point of view. If you want to compete with these types of teams, whether it’s a France, Holland, Germany , or other teams of that level ,you have to go at them. You have to really try and push them back and push up your defense. You could see in the first half they were getting more confident and pushing higher up, and suddenly they were making some mistakes. Over time, for us the learning process is to adapt to that speed of play. You can only play that speed of play if you are extremely fit, if you are tactically very aware and sharp, and the team finds a rhythm really where everybody works for each other. [You need] an understanding that develops between several key elements. This kind of instinctive understanding comes with time. I believe if we want to get to that level one day, we have to adjust to what the best in the world are doing. They are playing that game at a very high tempo, so sooner or later we have to learn to go at that high tempo.”
On the play of Tim Howard:
“With Tim Howard we have an absolutely exceptional goalkeeper that a lot of other nations are jealous of. Since I have had the pleasure of meeting him over several games, I have really come to the conclusion that I’d love him to challenge himself to go to another level, which I think he is actually doing. He’s definitely one of the best five or six in the world, and can really achieve big things in the next couple of years. It’s a pleasure to work with him. He’s a very calm and balanced leader. I told him to take a lot of responsibility and he stepped it up. He plays a vital role.”
On the play of Timmy Chandler:
“In Timothy Chandler you have a highly talented player who is growing into the left back position. And still he's a raw talent. He still has to learn a lot of things. He knows that. And there's a lot of upside in his game that can develop. But for right now, he has that starting position. It's his. And he's moving along in that process."
U.S. goalkeeper TIM HOWARD
“It could have been a draw. They played really well, and they probably had better chances then we did. We played hard. Unfortunately we didn’t get the draw, but we would have liked to. It’s a fantastic match to test our team. Playing in the Stade de France in a wonderful atmosphere against a top quality team is a great experience. It’s difficult for us, but we’ll get better from this for sure.”
U.S. forward CLINT DEMPSEY
“A draw would have been nice. At the end we were pressing the game and trying to leave here with a result. Unfortunately we weren’t able to get that done, but there were some good things. We played better football in the second half. I felt like I was able to get more involved and put a stamp on things. We’re happy with our second half performance. We just need to start doing a better job of getting results.”
On whether the French team may have underestimated them:
“You would have to ask them. They were a good side. They have a lot of quality players. They frustrated us in the first half. I thought the game opened up a little bit more in the second half. We did a better job of keeping possession, moving the ball around and creating chances for ourselves.
On Jurgen Klinsmann as a coach:
“He instills confidence in his players and pushes us to go out and express ourselves and have that self-belief that we can compete in big games. We enjoy having him as a coach and we want to do better for him. Hopefully the results will start to show.”
U.S. midfielder FABIAN JOHNSON
On getting his first cap for the United States:
“It was exciting. I was happy to get a few minutes, and hopefully there are more to come. Of course it’s nice to get your first cap, but I hope that next time we are going to win.”